Arsenal and Chelsea go head-to-head in an all-London FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, as the Gunners seek a record-extending 14th title in the competition.
After an utterly disappointing Premier League campaign, Arsenal’s last chance of securing European football for the next season is to beat Chelsea at Wembley.
It will be a daunting prospect for the Emirates outfit to do so, though. They’ve lost three out of their last five H2H meetings across various competitions (W1, D1), including a 4-1 thumping in the 2018/19 Europa League final.
Yet, the Gunners can draw inspiration from a 2-0 win over Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals. While that success caught many by surprise, it marked arguably Arsenal’s best performance under Mikel Arteta.
The Spanish manager seems to have succeeded in turning a reckless team into a rock-solid unit. Five of Arsenal’s last six matches across several competitions have now ended separating the sides by under 1.5 goals at full-time (W3, D1, L2).
In turn, all but one of their previous 11 H2H clashes against Chelsea in different competitions have produced a full-time margin no greater than one goal (W3, D5, L3).
Remarkably, Chelsea have picked up six of their eight FA Cup titles from the 1999/2000 season onwards. In fact, since 2000, they have featured in seven FA Cup finals, losing only once – to Arsenal precisely.
Chelsea had a tough ride to the final this season, though, having dumped three top-five Premier League sides on their way to Wembley.
After defeating Liverpool 2-0 in the round of 16, the Blues went on to kick Leicester out of the competition’s quarter-finals. Frank Lampard’s side ultimately sealed a place in the final by thrashing Manchester United 3-1 in the semis.
Interestingly, going back to March, none of Chelsea’s last 14 competitive fixtures has ended in a draw (W11, L4).
The ‘clean-sheet’ theme remains vital in the context of the Pensioners’ results (wins/losses) during that 14-game sequence. The majority (57.14%) of them saw the winner on the day keep a blank sheet (8/14).
Four of their last five H2Hs outside of the Premier League have featured both sides hit the net. Therefore, ‘both teams to score’ offered at 7/10 (1.70) by Bet365 could be a gamble worth taking.