2016/17 FA Cup Final Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea

Updated Saturday 27th May 2017, 09:43 PM

This season’s FA Cup reaches its climax on Saturday as Premier League winners Chelsea take on London rivals Arsenal beneath the shadow of Wembley’s iconic arch. Both sides have battled valiantly throughout the season to reach this stage of the competition and are within one win of securing a world-famous piece of silverware. While Chelsea will be desperate to triumph in order to complete their second league and cup double in the space of seven years, Arsenal will be out to prove their season hasn’t been a complete disaster by lifting the FA Cup for the third time in four seasons, in what could be Arsene Wenger’s final act as manager.  

How the Bookies See it

  • Winner: Chelsea 4/5, Draw 29/10, Arsenal 15/4 - Bet365
  • First Goalscorer: Diego Costa (CHE) 3/1, Michy Batshuayi (CHE) 9/2, Eden Hazard (CHE) 5/1 - BoyleSports
  • Half Time/Full Time: Chelsea/Chelsea 19/10, Draw/Chelsea 4/1, Draw/Draw 5/1 - BetVictor

How They Made it to Wembley

  • Arsenal may have missed out on a top four finish in the league for the first time in 20 years, but their form in the FA Cup this term has been near-faultless. Away wins over Preston in round three and Southampton in round four gave Arsene Wenger’s men the perfect start in the competition, before comfortable victories over non-league pair Sutton United and Lincoln City saw the Emirates side set up a meeting with Pep Guariola’s Manchester City in the semi-final. Despite going a goal down to the free-spending Citizens in the 62nd minute, the Gunners fought back to level the tie before a close-range strike from Alexis Sanchez settled the contest in extra time.
  • Chelsea saw their dominance in the league carry over into the cup as they swept aside Peterborough United and Brentford in rounds three and four. Antonio Conte’s side continued their pursuit of a first FA Cup triumph in five years with a 2-0 win over Championship side Wolves, before narrowly overcoming defending champions Manchester United in the sixth round. A semi-final encounter with title rivals Tottenham proved to be quite a game as the Blues twice took the lead, only for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to hit back. However, the seven-time winners eventually overwhelmed their opponents, with late strikes from substitute Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic sending the boys from the Bridge safely through.      

Sports.net’s view

Fifteen years since these two heavyweights of the English game last contested an FA Cup final, Arsenal and Chelsea will lock horns once again in a fight for silverware and supremacy. The Gunners triumphed by two goals to nil on that Saturday afternoon in Cardiff, something that Arsene Wenger will be hoping his present crop of superstars can repeat as the Frenchman aims to appease the disgruntled, banner-waving fans that have been calling for a change in the Emirates dugout for some time now. The team from north London are 25/1 with Betfred to repeat their 2002 victory by the same scoreline and 17/2 to win to nil.

However, if history is to repeat itself, Arsenal will have to get by without a number of key players. Both Gabriel and Santi Cazorla are certain to miss out, while Laurent Koscielny is suspended following the ludicrous red card he picked up on the final day of the league season against Everton. Shkodran Mustafi is a major doubt, while question marks remain over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexis Sanchez and Kieran Gibbs, meaning Arsene Wenger may have to rely on a number of his fringe players to plug the gaps. If the Gunners are to win with limited resources, a bet on Olivier Giroud (11/4 with 32Red) or Danny Welbeck (10/3) to grab a goal at any point could be worthwhile, while the threat posed by Theo Walcott (7/2) cannot be overlooked.

Due to Arsenal’s mounting injury list, Chelsea enter this game as the overwhelming favourites to pick up their fifth FA Cup in a decade and an eighth in their 112 year history. The Blues have become specialists when it comes to wowing at Wembley, having won on nine of their last 14 visits to the national stadium and are 4/5 with Bet365 to hit double figures this weekend. Following interest from China, this game could be Diego Costa’s Chelsea swansong, and what better way to say goodbye than with a goal in the final? The Brazilian-born striker is 8/5 with William Hill to net at any time in a win for his club, while odds of 9/2 on the 28-year-old having the final say in a victory for the Blues also looks enticing at 9/2.      

Since the FA Cup’s showpiece returned to Wembley in 2007, nine of the ten finals have been decided by a single goal, while half of the games have finished 1-0. Should this happen again, the bookmakers are favouring Chelsea to triumph, with Sky Bet pricing a win for the Blues by a single goal at 11/4, while a 1-0 victory is available at 7/1. However, with little to choose between the two sides, extra time could be a real possibility at 11/2, while a first FA Cup final shootout under the arch also looks tempting at 13/2.  

  • Sports.net’s top tip: Chelsea to win by a single goal 11/4 - Sky Bet


*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to kick-off.

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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 May 2017 09:43:36+00:00
Published By Sports.net

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