Arsenal and Chelsea meet in an all-London Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday
Gunners face capital rivals as 13-time and record winners of competition
Rematch of 2002 and 2017 finales both won by North Londoners; Chelsea won last time duo met in a final last May in Baku
WEMBLEY STADIUM, LONDON – As Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the 139th Emirates FA Cup Final on Saturday, the Gunners are looking to lift the trophy for a remarkable 14th time.
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After the curtain finally fell on the Premier League season last weekend, so follows the annual end-of-season domestic showpiece on Saturday as Arsenal and Chelsea meet in an all-London 139th Emirates FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
In what will be a repeat of both 2002 and 2017 finals, echoes of Tim Lovejoy‘s famous ‘it’s only Ray Parlour‘ jibe will no doubt fill social media on match-day and though the Gunners have recent history on their side in the competition, their most latter-day meeting with the West Londoners in a final ended with humbling defeat in Baku.
Though Chelsea have already qualified for next season’s Champions League after finishing fourth in the Premier League standings, Mikel Arteta‘s men will book their place in the Group stages of the Europa League proper with victory – an eventuality that would force Tottenham Hotspur into three qualifying fixtures to reach the same competition, despite finishing sixth in the top-flight.
Competing in their 21st cup final this weekend, 13-time winners Arsenal hold the record for most wins in the competition, indeed, since the turn of the millennium the North Londoners have lifted the famous trophy six times – three in the last six seasons.
Having met Chelsea twice in that time in the finale – 2002’s edition taking place in Cardiff – the Gunners sealed a record win in the final of three years ago, as Aaron Ramsey‘s 79th-minute winner saw Arsene Wenger claim his tenth and final major piece of silverware in the penultimate year of his Arsenal tenure.
Chelsea may be the less illustrious in the competition’s history, however nine wins is far from shabby. As winners two seasons ago, the Blues came out on top in a cagey affair against Manchester United via an Eden Hazard 22nd-minute spot-kick.
As five-time winners since 2007 also – though their opponents can boast the superior tally of FA Cups – Chelsea are far from the outsiders in this year’s edition and having won the trophy three times in the past decade also, there is very little between the duo here.
Route to Wembley
After both sides negotiated tough semi-final opponents earlier this month, there will be no clear favourite to lift the cup on Saturday evening after a weekend that saw London conquer Manchester in what was a rare clean sweep of last-four meetings.
As Chelsea defeated an off-colour Red Devils, it was Arsenal’s 2-0 win the evening before that saw the North Londoners win rave reviews following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s brace, with Mikel Arteta beating his former number one in Pep Guardiola.
For the Gunners, the route to this point saw them sneak past Premier League-bound Leeds United, the fourth and fifth Rounds respectively notch wins against South coast duo AFC Bournemouth and Portsmouth, whilst in the quarter-finals, Dani Ceballos‘ dramatic winner at Bramall Lane versus Sheffield United led Arsenal to the last four.
Frank Lampard‘s men meanwhile passed tests against Nottingham Forest and Hull City, before taking down league champions Liverpool and then Leicester City in imperious fashion, with 2-0 and 1-0 victories. The Blues have had arguably the toughest route to the final.
If there were to a favourite under the Wembley Arch this weekend. the Gunners may assume something resembling that tag. In truth however, Lampard’s charges come into the game the stronger side with the more potent attack, not least with the slender psychological advantage.
Last May as the two met in the 2019 Europa League Final in Baku – a date that now seems a past lifetime – Chelsea romped to a 4-1 victory in the City of Winds, as Hazard led the Blues to an emphatic victory in his swan-song for the club before departing for Real Madrid last summer.
After a goalless first-half on that occasion, strikes from former Gunner Olivier Giroud, Pedro and a brace from the talismanic Belgian left Unai Emery‘s plans for a fourth Europa League trophy in tatters, as Arsenal’s evolution under the Spaniard was dealt a hammer blow – events which led to the former Valencia and PSG coach’s dismissal later that year.
Though the North Londoners may have four more FA Cups to their name, Chelsea’s current guise is of a different brand to their 2017 loss. As winners the year after also, the Blues know how to respond to defeat at Wembley, which makes for an unpredictable encounter in North London this weekend.
The 2020 Emirates FA Cup Final takes place on Saturday evening at Wembley Stadium, kick off 17:30 UK time.
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