Arsenal beat Chelsea to win the FA Cup final in 2017, adding to their victory over the Blues in the 2002 showpiece

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TEAM NEWS

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin missed the win over Watford as a precaution with a tight calf but has been back in training this week.

Cedric Soares is cup-tied, while Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Martinelli remain out.

Chelsea will assess Willian, who was ruled out of last Sunday’s game against Wolves because of injury.

Midfielder N’Golo Kante could return after a six-match absence with a hamstring problem.

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Unlike last year’s final between Manchester City and Watford, this game is very hard to call.

For starters, it is going to be a very different sort of occasion. We know now that football behind closed doors is strange, but this is going to be the strangest game yet.

It’s an FA Cup final, and a derby game too, but it doesn’t really feel like that. Fans are an intrinsic part of football regardless, but that is even more the case for the moments when you win things. Without them at Wembley, it just won’t be the same.

I am still expecting a good game, though, and it is Arsenal who I think will edge it.

I’ve been quite critical of them, and how fragile they have been defensively, but apparently Mikel Arteta does a lot of work on their shape in training, and it is definitely having an effect.

To win on Saturday, they will need to show more of the resilience they had when they beat City and Liverpool in the space of a week, but they are always going to score goals with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette in their team.

That’s not to say Chelsea are not dangerous too. I just feel like Arsenal have got more momentum and confidence at the moment, but otherwise it is difficult to split the two sides.

Prediction: 1-0

Lawro’s predictions v Josh Franceschi and Willie J Healey

Dave Sexton led them to glory in the 1971 Cup Winners’ Cup. The last Englishman to manage Chelsea in a major cup final was Glenn Hoddle in the 1994 FA Cup, which they lost to Manchester United

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won both of their previous FA Cup finals against Chelsea: 2-0 in 2002 and 2-1 in 2017.
  • However, Chelsea have won their other two meetings in major finals, by 2-1 in the 2007 League Cup and 4-1 in last year’s Europa League showpiece.
  • Chelsea’s only win in their past nine FA Cup clashes with the Gunners came in the 2009 semi-final.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal have reached the FA Cup final a record 21 times and have also won the competition 13 times – more than any other side. They have featured in 15% of all FA Cup finals.
  • The Gunners have not lost an FA Cup final at Wembley since a 1-0 defeat by West Ham in 1980.
  • Arsenal finished outside the Premier League’s top six this season for the first time in 25 years.
  • They’ve failed to score in only one of their past 31 FA Cup matches.

Chelsea

  • This is Chelsea’s 14th FA Cup final; only Arsenal (21) and Manchester United (20) have reached more.
  • They have lost only one of their past 15 FA Cup matches.
  • Since his FA Cup debut in 2013, Olivier Giroud has scored 16 goals in the competition – second only to Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
  • The Frenchman is aiming to become just the second player to score for and against a specific side (Arsenal) in separate FA Cup finals. Frank Stapleton netted for Arsenal against Manchester United in the 1979 final, and then for the Red Devils in the 1983 final versus Brighton.



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