It’s FA Cup final day! No two teams have had more success in this competition since the turn of the century than two London clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea. Together, this famous trophy has been lifted on 11 occasions combined since 2001. Looking at the game, Chelsea go into this final with less pressure than their opponents. But, Frank Lampard will want to top off a successful first season in charge of the blues with some silverware.
The club legend excelled in what is his second year as a manager. Lampard has had to navigate his Chelsea side during a transfer ban, not to mention without the clubs best player last season, Eden Hazard, who departed the blues for Real Madrid.
In many ways, though, finishing fourth in the Premier League is deserving of a trophy in the current climate, ensuring that the Blues can push ahead with ambitious transfer plans.
So far the club are already showing their determination to land high profile names in the transfer market after already securing deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner. Both arrivals – along with Kai Havertz who looks to be the next acquisition, will take Chelsea football club to another level next season. However, the focus of the club and Lampard is overcoming their London rivals, followed swiftly by another trophy coming back to Stamford Bridge. That most recent piece of silverware was the 2019 Europa League, secured with victory over today’s opponents in the Baku final.
Chelsea have fewer injury issues to contend with Billy Gilmour their only confirmed absentee. Lampard confirmed that N’Golo Kante is fit and is in the match day squad having missed the last matches of the season.
Basically, if Kante is fit, he starts against Arsenal as everyone can agree, a half fit Kante can still have a standout performance, like the one we all saw in Baku against today’s opponents. However, I think Lampard will use the same two man midfield that played against Manchester United in the last round. Both Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic dictated the course of the match and shut out Paul Pogba and United’s danger man, Bruno Fernandes.
Lampard will stick with the three-man defence to match Arsenal, however, the back three will have to be on their game if they are to stop the gunner’s talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from scoring.
The biggest talking point ahead of this match is whether Kepa Arrizabalaga is recalled after being dropped for the final Premier League game of the season. Willy Caballero has shown this season that he is a good back-up goalkeeper and Lampard knows he can trust the veteran shot stopper. Up the other end of the field it seems certain that Olivier Giroud will retain his place against his old side.
Giroud is aiming to become the second player to score for and against a specific side in separate FA Cup finals, having netted in Arsenal’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa in 2015.
Whatever team-sheet comes out prior to kick-off, Chelsea fans will back the team that is selected in which Lampard can get his first taste of silverware as a manager. A beautiful sight that will be… if we can get a result at Wembley.