FA Cup Final 2017

Arsenal vs Chelsea | Saturday 27 May | Wembley Stadium | 18:30

London’s two biggest clubs meet with the chance to lift what is perhaps the most historic of domestic trophies as Arsenal and Chelsea renew a bitter rivalry in the FA Cup final on Saturday. Arsene Wenger has the chance to make English football history by claiming a seventh FA Cup, but to do so he will need to stop an irresistible Chelsea side in sight of a domestic double. London’s own Wembley Stadium will host what is certain to be a fearsome contest in the capital.

To Win Match (90mins)
Arsenal 7/2
Draw 11/4
Chelsea 7/10

To Lift the Cup
Arsenal 33/20
Chelsea 9/20


With the Gunners having failed to make the Champions League for the first time in 20 years, Arsene Wenger simply must win the FA Cup to add some sort of gloss to what has been a largely gloomy season at the Emirates. Despite winning their final five matches and coming into this fixture in decent shape, Arsenal left themselves too much to do to overhaul either Liverpool or Manchester City. 75 points is four more than last season’s haul that saw Arsenal claim second in the league, however that only goes to prove how much more difficult it has become to find a place in the top four. Fifth is simply not good enough at the Emirates and it could be a very different Arsenal outfit next season, with the difficult prospect of Europa League football to contend with.

The deafening calls for Wenger to call it quits may well be answered as the Frenchman reflects on another season to forget. The 10-2 aggregate demolition at the hands of Bayern Munich could easily be one of the club’s lowest points in Wenger’s 20-year tenure. Along with the manager, the absence of Champions League football is almost certain to see stars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil heading for greener pastures. Thursday night football coupled with Sunday matches will take its toll on a currently mentally and physically fragile squad. It’s a big summer ahead for Arsenal and if they don’t loosen the purse strings they’ll be dead in the water next term.

Laurent Koscielny will miss the clash against Chelsea after being sent off against Everton, while Gabriel Paulista is also likely to miss out through injury. However, Shkodran Mustafi should be fit to face the Blues.

Sanchez is having intensive treatment on a hamstring problem after being withdrawn against Everton, and he could be a doubt which would be a massive blow to Wenger.


Antonio Conte waltzed to the Premier League title in his first year in charge and will now be intent on securing the double to cap off what can only be described as a magical season. Think back to when Chelsea were 3-0 down at half-time to none other than Arsenal in September, when it seemed as though last season’s troubles were ingrained and Conte’s experiment of three-at-the-back was doomed for failure.

The Italian brought together a difficult squad of players to find balance, team spirit and a consistent eleven that would play for him relentlessly. Champions with 93 points, a record 30 wins (13 on the trot) and 85 goals scored – they scored nine in their last two games when they had already won the league. They just did not lose focus.

N’Golo Kante was once again instrumental to his club lifting the Premier League trophy, his second in succession. The word used earlier, relentless, is easily the best adjective to describe the diminutive Frenchman. No-one in world football covers as much ground as Kante.

Of course, Eden Hazard has shone, as has Diego Costa and David Luiz. But credit really must go to Conte for bringing the best out of players normally overlooked. Marcos Alonso, who could perhaps harshly be referred to as a Premier League reject, was one of most explosive wing-backs in the league this season. Victor Moses, Chelsea’s intrepid loanee, suddenly made over 30 appearances under Conte and is now a Premier League champion. This is the impact of a world-class manager.

Probable line-ups:

Arsenal: 3-4-2-1
Cech; Holding, Mustafi, Monreal; Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Gibbs; Ozil, Sanchez; Welbeck.

Chelsea: 3-4-3
Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.

Prediction: Chelsea to Win and Both Teams to Score (9/4)
Both sides come into this match on the back of good wins and goalscoring runs. Alexis Sanchez seems intent to single-handedly win matches, but I can’t see Arsenal beating a Chelsea side that will simply prove too strong on the day. Diego Costa will be his usual nuisance to the Arsenal defence, while I feel that the Gunners can definitely get a goal against their city rivals. The Matchbet and BTTS option offers great value and works as a handy single bet for what will be a fantastic match.

Rick John Henry

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