Arsenal have raised the FA Cup more often than any other club in the competition’s storied history. The Gunners have won the FA Cup 13 times, and they will be making their record 21st appearance in an FA Cup Final this weekend. Perhaps it’s only fitting that they take on arguably their biggest rival in this year’s final, squaring off against Chelsea in the North West London Derby. These two clubs locked horns here three years ago in the FA Cup Finals, and the Blues would love to upend the Gunners after missing out on a chance to add some silverware to their trophy case.
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Arsenal FC +226
How They Got Here
Chelsea had a favorable draw early on in this year’s FA Cup, being matched against second tier clubs Nottingham Forest and Hull City. The Blues dispatched both those teams relatively easily, but then their draw became significantly tougher over their last three matches. They had to get past Liverpool, Leicester City, and Manchester United to reach the FA Cup Finals, and they were brilliant defensively on their way to this match. Chelsea held Liverpool and Leicester City scoreless before allowing a late own goal in a 3-1 victory over United in the FA Cup Semifinals.
It wasn’t easy for the Gunners to get back to the FA Cup Finals. Their first match came against England Championship winner Leeds United, and they had the misfortune of drawing a Premier League opponent in Bournemouth in the Round of 32. Arsenal overcame both those challenges and finally received some good fortune by drawing third tier Portsmouth in the Round of 16, but Sheffield United pushed them to the brink in the quarterfinals. That led to clash with Manchester City in the semifinals where Arsenal were considerable underdogs per the soccer betting odds. The Gunners dismissed their deplorable recent history against the Citizens with a 2-0 victory thanks to a brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
These two clubs have combined to win a majority of the FA Cup competitions over the last two decades. Chelsea have been to the FA Cup Finals eight times, and they have gone on to lift the trophy six times.
Arsenal have an unblemished record in FA Cup Finals since 2002. After losing to Liverpool the prior year, Arsenal claimed consecutive FA Cup wins in 2002 and 2003, and they have grabbed four more FA Cup titles since that point. They have won in each of their last six trips to the FA Cup Finals.
Head to Head History
Chelsea’s only two FA Cup Finals losses of the last two decades came at the hands of Arsenal. The Blues lost the 2002 FA Cup Final to the Gunners, and they fell here to their rivals 2-1 three years ago. Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey ensured that Arsenal led for nearly the entire match. To pour salt in the wound, Arsenal went on to win the FA Community Shield in a shootout three months later.
However, Chelsea did avenge those losses with a 4-1 thrashing of Arsenal in last year’s Europa League Finals in Azerbaijan. Eden Hazard was unstoppable in his last match with Chelsea, notching a brace as the Blues knocked in four goals in just over 20 minutes in the second half.
N’Golo Kante looks set to return to the pitch for Chelsea on Saturday, giving Frank Lampard’s side a huge boost. The star midfielder had missed the Blues’ last six matches due to a hamstring injury, and he is instrumental to what this team wants to do to shut down Aubameyang.
Aubameyang has been one of the few bright spots for Arsenal this season. He notched 22 goals to contend for the Golden Boot. The only other player on the team with more than five goals is the inconsistent Alexandre Lacazette. There are even bigger concerns on defense as Shkodran Mustafi is now a long-term injury alongside Calum Chambers, and first choice goalkeeper Bernd Leno will be out too.
That tips the scales decisively in the favor of Chelsea, so look for the Blues to wipe away their recent failures against Arsenal on this stage.
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