FA Cup Final: Three Key Battles
(Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)

Frank Lampard will be looking to cap a successful first season as Chelsea head coach with silverware when they take on Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

It is the third time the sides have met in a final in the last three seasons, Arsenal earning a 2-1 victory in the FA Cup final of 2017 before Chelsea's 4-1 win in last year's Europa League final.

Chelsea VAVEL assesses the head-to-head battles that could define this latest meeting before Saturday's showpiece.

Mateo Kovacic vs Granit Xhaka

Mateo Kovacic has been one of Chelsea's most consistent performers this term, with many blues fans naming him as their player of the season.

Despite not registering many goals or assists, the Croatian's ball carrying abilities are instrumental to turning defence into attack and beating the opposition's press.

Xhaka has started 11 of Arsenal's 13 games after the restart, putting in influential performances in the semi-final against Manchester City and the league victory over Liverpool.

The 27-year-old has been an effective destroyer in the middle of the park for the North London club and has found his feet under Mikel Arteta following a shaky start to the season under Unai Emery.

Victory in the midfield battle could define this final, Lampard hoping Kovacic can carry the ball beyond Arsenal's press and get it into the feet of the front men, while Arteta will want his Swiss midfielder to assert himself in the middle.

Olivier Giroud vs David Luiz

Two players going up against their former sides, Giroud and Luiz will be in direct confrontation in the final third on Saturday evening. 

Luiz will know the Frenchman's movement well having been his team-mate a year ago and will likely relish the opportunity to get physical. 

Despite a few poor performances, Luiz's quality was evident against Manchester City two weeks ago where he won 100% of his tackles, 100% of his aerial duels and made 12 clearances. 

Arsenal will likely play with a back five again which suits the Brazilian, who Arteta will be counting on to do a better job of tracking Giroud's movements in the area than Manchester United's backline managed in the other semi-final.

Kurt Zouma vs Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

No player has scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang since he signed for Arsenal and he ended his league campaign one goal shy of a second successive golden boot.

Even at 31 his speed, movement and clinical finishing make him one of the most fearsome strikers in all of Europe and the biggest danger to Chelsea in this final.

Kurt Zouma has become a regular in Lampard's side, enjoying more minutes in a Chelsea shirt than ever before and his physical attributes make him the blues defender best equipped to cope with Aubameyang. 

The striker will likely find himself facing up all of Chelsea's centre-backs as he moves across the front line, but should he target the left side occupied by Zouma and Marcos Alonso, much will depend on how the young Frenchman copes with him.

 

VAVEL Logo