Chelsea and Arsenal are poles apart when it comes to what’s riding on the FA Cup final.
Antonio Conte is chasing a double in his first season in English football, having wrapped up the Premier League title a fortnight ago. Opposite him in the dugout – for what could be the final time – will sit Arsene Wenger, who knows the success of his side’s season comes down to this moment.
Having watched Manchester United lift the Europa League, Arsenal are the only top six side who will not be in the Champions League next season. There is an argument, though, that should they win the FA Cup and finish fifth, they will still have had a better season than Spurs, Manchester City, and Liverpool, all of whom have failed to pick up any silverware. However, the Gunners should not be too confident considering they now have significant injury worries to add to their recent woes. Gabriel and Santi Cazorla are definitely out, while Shkodran Mustafi, Kieran Gibbs, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all doubtful. To make matters worse, Laurent Koscielny is suspended following his reckless challenge against Everton last week.
Arsenal’s price of 2/1 to lift the Cup (7/2 to win in 90 minutes) looks a little sketchy in those circumstances. Chelsea are at 15/2 to win 2-1, and most bookmakers are expecting both teams to score.
Anything can happen in a cup final, but it’s easy to see why most people will be backing the champions. Of the last ten times they’ve met Arsenal in the league, they’ve won seven, drawn two, and lost just one.
As much as this could be Sanchez’s last game, it could also be Diego Costa’s last appearance for Chelsea. Both men scoring is at 9/1 and they have to be the favourites for their respective teams.
If anything, Arsenal have the bigger incentive to go all the way, but it’s just hard to see Wenger outwitting Conte on this occasion.