Arsenal, 13-time winners, take on Chelsea, who have tasted success on eight occasions, in Saturday's FA Cup final. George Pitts has the preview with best bets to consider.
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, visit our transparent tipping record
Arsenal v Chelsea
- 1730 kick-off on BBC One / BT Sport 1
- Odds: Arsenal - 12/5 | Draw (in 90 mins) - 5/2 | Chelsea - 6/5
Experienced FA Cup and Premier League winners in their early stages under a young manager, a former player, and still finding their way with promising glimpses for the future - that goes for both sides in Saturday's FA Cup final.
Both Mikel Arteta's Arsenal and Frank Lampard's Chelsea are far from the finished product, but they have plenty in common and silverware would be excellent for either boss in their first season at their respective clubs.
There has been plenty of promise from both Arsenal and Chelsea, before and after lockdown, but poor defending has held them back up to now, which we will come on to shortly.
Lampard has been in the job a little longer and guided his side to a top-four Premier League finish last weekend under difficult circumstances. A transfer ban disrupted his plans but has been a blessing in disguise for the club's youngsters and a Champions League spot represents an excellent start.
Arteta of course is less experienced, both in overall terms and at this club, having taken over following the departure of Unai Emery. It's been clear that he has a plan, and it's one which will take time to bed in - but on balance the positives outweigh negatives such as inconsistency and that spine which remains flimsy.
The Blues are favourites to win inside 90 minutes at 6/5 and odds-on to lift the trophy, but Arsenal (12/5) are slightly preferred for us. Chuck in Arsenal and both teams to score in what should be an entertaining final, and odds of 5/1 are quite appealing.
The best bet here is indeed both teams to score, which will cover the staking plan, but we're happy to back Arsenal to come off best in regular time and win a potentially high-scoring game.
This Arsenal side can be inconsistent - terrible one week and so impressive the next. Their performance against Man City in the semi-final was probably their best under Arteta, yet they had previously lost to Spurs and wobbled against Watford.
Granted, Arteta knows Pep Guardiola's side well, but they showed grit and put their bodies on the line with fantastic defending while punishing their opponents at the other end. He should have them fired up for this one and if not they will be out of the door.
Given Chelsea's gung-ho approach, it might make for an open final for once, with another great defensive effort required from the Gunners.
While they have improved under Arteta at the back, with 11 clean sheets in all competitions, we still expect the Blues to score. Overall, though, Arsenal can see out a record 14th FA Cup win if able to execute their manager's game plan and avoid ruinous mistakes.
They have lost just two of their last 10 in all competitions while Chelsea have lost three of their last 10, so we have two teams improving and growing in confidence. They are probably quite closely matched right now, even if the final league table says otherwise.
Both teams scored in 23 (61%) of Arsenal's 38 Premier League games this season - only Tottenham had more with 25 - while Chelsea are close behind on 22 (58%).
With this being both sides' last chance of silverware, barring a Chelsea miracle in Munich next week, they must go for it and such an open game could play into the hands of underdogs Arsenal, as it did against City.
And the edge for the north Londoners? Their number 14. Which takes us onto...
Man of the Match: The Pul of Christian tempting, Aubamayang more so
These two sides have good players, of that there's no doubt, but the world-class stars capable of producing a magic moment should be on the left of their respective front threes - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in red and Christian Pulisic in blue.
On the big stage, with the country watching, who can step up?
'Captain America' was our Man of the Match tip in Chelsea's win over Palace at 6/1, as well as anytime goalscorer, and he has been impressive all round since the restart.
His stats for the season now read 10 goals and 10 assists in 33 appearances across all competitions.
Impressive, clearly, and he is 9/2 to be man of the match here if you fancy the Blues. Fans will hope the formation Lampard opts for will play to his strengths - since 31 August 2019, Pulisic has had a total of 2.81 xG in 858 minutes in a 4-3-3 (0.29 xG per 90) in the Premier League - and a total of 6.44 xG in 765 minutes in other formations (0.76 xG per 90).
As for Arsenal, Aubameyang is the key man in their quest for glory and given we're backing them to edge it, he's also worth siding with in some way.
If he is on song, the Gunners can definitely win and the TV commentators (which this market goes by) will surely give the MOTM award to a cup winner, so 6/1 is hard to turn down as a nice alternative to backing him anytime which is just above the even-money mark.
Keeping the Gabonese forward this summer should be Arsenal's priority, such is his quality in this team. His double in the semi-final win over City showed that.
He can produce a moment of class out of nowhere and his tally of 27 goals and three assists in 43 games in all competitions makes him Arsenal's key man by far. He will be vital here in what could be his last game for the club.
Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea (Sky Bet odds: 11/1)
Scroll down for pre-match Opta stats and FA Cup semi-final highlights
View from both camps
- Mikel Arteta
- Frank Lampard
Opta stats and facts
- Arsenal are appearing in their 21st FA Cup final, more than any other side. Indeed, the Gunners have won the competition more often than any other side (13).
- Chelsea are playing in their 14th FA Cup final, with this their seventh appearance in the showpiece since Wembley Stadium re-opened in 2007. The Blues have won seven of their last nine FA Cup finals, with both defeats in that time coming against Arsenal.
- This season’s FA Cup final will be the latest date a final has been staged in the competition’s history.
- This is the third time Arsenal and Chelsea have faced each other in the FA Cup final, with the Gunners winning the previous two (in 2002 and 2017) – no fixture has been played more in the final (excluding replays).
- Arsenal have triumphed in eight of their last nine FA Cup final matches, including each of the last six in a row. Only Tottenham (7 between 1901 and 1982) have won more consecutive FA Cup final appearances.
- Chelsea have won just one of their last 13 FA Cup games against Arsenal (D4 L8), beating them 2-1 in the 2009 semi-final, courtesy of goals from Florent Malouda and a late Didier Drogba winner.
- This will be the third time in the last four seasons that Arsenal will be ending their campaign against Chelsea, winning the 2017 FA Cup final and losing last season’s Europa League final against the Blues in Baku.
- In all competitions, Chelsea have lost just two of their last 10 meetings with Arsenal (W3 D5), with the Blues unbeaten against the Gunners in the Premier League this term (W1 D1).
- Mikel Arteta is to become only the second man to manage Arsenal in an FA Cup final having also played for the Gunners in one, after George Graham. He could become the first person to win the FA Cup with as Arsenal as both a captain and a manager.
- This will be the first FA Cup final managed by two men who both also played for their teams in an FA Cup final since 2012 (Roberto di Matteo vs Kenny Dalglish). Mikel Arteta won with Arsenal in 2014, while Frank Lampard played in five finals for the Blues, winning four. Indeed, Lampard’s only FA Cup final defeat as a player was against Arsenal in 2002.
- Frank Lampard will be the first English manager to take charge of Chelsea in a major cup final since Glenn Hoddle in the 1994 FA Cup, a 0-4 defeat against Manchester United. The last English manager to win a major trophy with Chelsea was Dave Sexton (1971 Cup Winner’s Cup).
- In FA Cup final history, there have been two players play for both clubs in a specific final fixture – Francis Birley played for Oxford University against Wanderers in 1873, and vice versa in 1877, while Jack Reynolds played for both Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion in the 1890s. Both Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Arsenal’s David Luiz could achieve this, having played for their opponents in the 2017 final.
- Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud has been involved in 24 goals in 30 FA Cup appearances (16 goals, 8 assists). The Frenchman has also had a hand in three goals in four final appearances in the competition (1 goal, 2 assists), with both his assists being for the winning goal (2014 and 2017).
- Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud will be aiming to become just the second player to score for and against a specific side (Arsenal) in separate FA Cup finals after Frank Stapleton, who netted against Man Utd in the 1979 final (for Arsenal) and then for the Red Devils in the 1983 final (vs Brighton).
- Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored three goals in just two FA Cup appearances, with the Gabonese striker netting both of the Gunners’ goals in their semi-final victory against Man City.
FA Cup semi-finals
- Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City
- Manchester United 1-3 Chelsea
Odds correct as of 1400 BST on 30/07/20
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