Saturday will mark the third time in which Chelsea and Arsenal have met in an FA Cup final, with the Gunners coming out on top on both previous occasions, first in 2002 and then again in 2017.
Due to Arteta’s Arsenal side finishing eighth in the Premier League this season, winning the FA Cup is now their only possible way of securing European football for next season.
Chelsea finished their Premier League campaign on a high, winning four of their six league games since project restart. The Blues topped off an incredible debut season for Frank Lampard with a 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on the final day, securing Champions League football for another year.
However, Mikel Arteta’s start as Arsenal manager has been more difficult, with the Gunners winning just three of their seven games in the league since football returned, placing them in tenth position based on just points gained during the restart.
Despite missing out on a Europa League spot, Arteta’s side did finish the season on a high, seeing off Watford by three goals to two thanks to a brace from Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and another from Kieran Tierney.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal have an extensive history in the FA Cup, with Saturday set to be the 14th time Chelsea have appeared in the final, winning seven of their previous nine, with the two losses both coming against Arsenal. The Gunners have won the competition a record 13 times, appearing in 21 finals.
The last time these two sides met in an FA Cup final, the Gunners came away 2-1 winners, however the last time the pair met in a major final was last season's Europa League final. Despite a 0-0 scoreline at half-time, Chelsea went on to score four second-half goals, including one from former Arsenal man Olivier Giroud. A late goal from Alex Iwobi was unable to revitalise the North Londoners, and Chelsea came away 4-1 victors.
Chelsea and Arsenal have also met twice this season in the Premier League, with Chelsea remaining unbeaten over the two games. First, in December, the Blues came back from behind at The Emirates after an early Aubameyang goal put the Gunners ahead, but then a Bernd Leno mistake gifted Jorghinho an equaliser, and then Tammy Abraham struck late on in what was Arteta’s first game at the Emirates in charge of the Gunners.
Lampard and Arteta met just weeks later at Stamford Bridge, and Arteta was given one of the worst possible starts to the game with former Chelsea defender, David Luiz giving away a penalty and shown a red card within half an hour. However, the Gunners showed spirit and Hector Bellerin scored late on with a curling left-footed effort, meaning the points were shared.
After missing the last six games with a hamstring problem, N’Golo Kante has returned to Chelsea training, with the Frenchman expected to at least be part of Frank Lampard’s squad for Saturday’s clash. Another potential doubt for the Blues is winger Willian, with the Brazillian missing the final day of the season due to an ‘unspecified injury.’
Arsenal will continue to be without first-choice goalkeeper, Bernd Leno following his clash with Brighton’s Neal Maupay back in June. The Gunners will also be without defender Shkodran Mustafi following a hamstring problem he picked up in the semi-final against Manchester City. Finally, Arsenal fans will be hopeful that Hector Bellerin will return this week after he was rested against Watford due to a slight calf problem.
Chelsea: Cabellero, James, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount, Giroud, Pulisic
Arsenal: Martinez, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Saka, Xhaka, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang
Where to watch
Saturday’s highly anticipated cup final will kick off at 5:30 pm and will be shown live on both BT Sport 1 and BBC 1.