Two London clubs will make the short trip to Wembley Stadium on Saturday with the hope of ending their season on a real high.
Arsenal are tied for the most FA Cup victories (12) and for the most finals (19) with Manchester United and could just break that record with a win on Saturday against their rivals.
What a match we have between these two sides. You have two managers that have came off of completely different seasons. Antonio Conte has turned everything he’s touched into gold while waltzing toward Premier League glory. Arsene Wenger, by contrast, has had to fight supporters every step of the way as he tumbled to first-ever finish outside of the Prem’s top four sides. That means on Champions League football for the Gunners next term, which will leave them in a very sour mood. And that’s totally understandable. No matter what that can’t be changed, but what could be changed is the manager. This match might just swing the pendulum toward or against Arsene Wenger, and it’d be a joyous day for fans of the Blues to see them knock their bitter enemy out of town for good. A first season double is also on the line for them here as well, and they will be favored to get it done after their fine season.
Arsene Wenger, in what could be his last ever match as Arsenal manager, will be without center back Gabriel, right midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, center midfielder Santi Cazorla, and forward Lucas Perez due to injuries. Captain center back Laurent Koscielny will miss out after his red card against Everton on the final day of the league season. Look for Wenger to go back to a back four due to the injuries that he has right now; the three back system that started to work for them toward the end of the season would be a good idea to match up man-for-man with the Blues, but it’d be hard to execute with players being pigeon holed into the team.
A lot of rumors are swirling now that the Gunners’ have officially missed out of the top four. One of those surrounded by them is Chilean midfield man Alexis Sanchez. In fact, the Chilean FA had accidentally listed him as a Bayern Munich player, in fact, for his call-up to the Confederations Cup later this summer. This will cause some concern for fans of the Gunners, but you know that he will be ready to go and 100% focused on the task ahead. Sanchez, despite who his teammates are, is a consummate winner and will do what it takes to try and squeeze out a victory with his side. He scored the winner against Manchester City in the semi-final, and few would bet against him to get his 30th goal (in all competitions) this season.
Arsenal finished the Premier League season with five wins in a row. Two consecutive 2-0 wins over Manchester United (home) and Southampton (away) came before they won 1-4 away to Stoke City. They then won 2-0 at home, again, to Sunderland before closing out the season with a 3-1 home win to Everton last weekend.
Expected Line-up: 4-2-3-1
Defenders- Bellerin, Mertesacker, Holding, Monreal
Defensive Midfielders- Xhaka, Coquelin
Attacking Midfielders- Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott
Antonio Conte, after winning a the league, will be able to call upon his full squad after deciding to rest key players intermittently after their triumph in the league. Expect them to stay with the 3-4-3 as it would be sheer lunacy to switch that up now.
Willian hasn’t always been first choice for Conte this season, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not been one of the key players in their runs in both competitions thus far. The Brazilian was instrumental in getting the team to this point, scoring a brilliant free kick (as well as a penalty) in the semi-final against Tottenham. Those performances would have made him an automatic starter on most sides, but it will be interesting to see how Conte chooses to play this card. Will he use him from the off or use him off the bench in case they need help coming from behind? That is the question, but don’t be shocked to see him prove to be a central figure when the final whistle has blown on the English season.
Chelsea also finished the league with five straight wins. Two straight three nil score lines came away to Everton and at home to Middlesbrough. They clinched the league title with a 0-1 away win at West Brom before winning 4-3 at home to Watford. On the final day of the season, they came back from a goal down to hammer Sunderland 5-1.
Expected Line-up: 3-4-3
Defenders- Luiz, Azpilicueta, Cahill
Midfielders- Moses Kante, Matic, Alonso
Striker- Willian, Hazard, Costa
Arsenal vs Chelsea Head to Head Record
These sides have met 189 times so far down the years. In those matches, Arsenal has the most wins in the series. They have won 73 times to Chelsea’s 62. There have been 54 draws as well. Here’s a look at the last five times they’ve met:
Feb 4, 2017: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal
Sep 24, 2016: Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
Jan 24, 2016: Arsenal 0-1 Chelsea
Sep 19, 2015: Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
Aug 2, 2015: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (FA Community Shield)
Arsenal vs Chelsea Prediction
Chelsea will complete a double, and Antonio Conte will be an instant Blues legend here.
Predicted Scoreline: Arsenal 1-3 Chelsea
Arsenal vs Chelsea Betting Tips and Odds
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Arsenal are at 15/4 to win, a draw is at 14/5, and a Chelsea win is at 4/5.
Both teams to score has been set at 7/10 for yes and 21/20 for no.
A 1-0 win for Arsenal at full time could bring you 22/1 odds.
To lift the trophy after any eventuality, Arsenal are at 15/8 and Chelsea are at 2/5.
To win extra time, the Gunners are at 25/1 and the Blues are at 10/1.
To win in penalties, both sides are at 10/1.
The bookmakers have Arsenal as underdogs due to how well the Blues have played. They were champions, and the Gunners were basically nowhere in that race come season’s end. However, both sides ended on good form, so that should be a consideration in this one.