Arsenal excited about Saturday's Heads Up FA Cup final

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Arsenal excited about Saturday's Heads Up FA Cup final

Arsenal are excited about Saturday's Heads Up FA Cup final against Chelsea because the players want to "save our season", said Alexandre Lacazette.

The Gunners, who have won a record 13 FA Cups, have finished eighth in the Premier League and will not qualify for the Europa League if they lose at Wembley.

“We missed a few of our goals,” said French striker Lacazette, 29.

Mikel Arteta of Arsenal and Frank Lampard of Chelsea both aim to win the first trophies as managers.

Lacazette added: “It's been a weird year. We had a long stop, we changed managers [Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December], we had different players.

“It was a difficult season, maybe the most difficult of my career, but I know I learned a lot. The FA Cup means a lot. I came to Arsenal to win trophies. "

Meanwhile, Blues boss Lampard backed winger Willian to produce another 'fantastic' performance in the final game before the Brazilian's deal ran out.

“He's been fantastic for us. He's been fantastic this season - he's shown the right attitude, ”Lampard said.

"So I wouldn't expect anything less than what he's already shown, and that's Willian for you."

Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Roberto di Matteo - Great goals from Chelsea's FA Cup final

TEAM NEWS

Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin missed the win over Watford as a precaution with a tight calf, but he's back in training this week.

Cedric Soares is tied for the cup, while Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Martinelli remain on the sidelines.

Influential Chelsea couple N'Golo Kante and Willian are both in the squad after injuries.

However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek suffered a minor injury in training on Thursday and was sent off.

Cazorla, Parlor & Sanchez - Arsenal's best goals in FA Cup final

NOTES FROM MOTD REVIEWER

@Guymowbray: The 139th FA Cup final will be the one to make history, of a kind no one wanted.

A Wembley with no crowds for the semi-finals was quite an odd experience, but for anyone to be there for our game's annual occasion? It's a whole new level.

The FA have done their best to make sure they always stand out as special, from vocals of Abide With Me (pre-recorded by Emeli Sande from the stadium roof) to a modified trophy and medal presentation, but it is inevitable that the day has just won I do not have the same joy and the same excitement.

At least we can expect it from the match, a relatively even game between the clubs that staged a really entertaining finale just three years ago.

It should certainly be closer than the final last year's Europa League season for both, Arsenal undoubtedly improving under Mikel Arteta - attempting to follow George Graham to play and manage a Gunners Cup-winning squad.

Frank Lampard could be the third to do this for Chelsea (after Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Di Matteo), with the possibility of putting a trophy seal on a first season in charge that has exceeded realistic expectations.

Hopefully the contest will do that too, to end the longest, weirdest national season with at least some sort of smile.

To borrow a line from the last verse of Abide With Me - “Shine in the darkness and show me the heavens”.

LAWRO'S PREDICTION

Unlike last year's final between Manchester City and Watford, this game is very hard to call.

For starters, it will be a very different occasion. We now know that behind closed doors football is weird, but it will be the weirdest game yet.

It's an FA Cup final, and a derby match too, but it's not really. Fans are still an integral part of football, but that's even more so when it comes to the times when you win things. Without them at Wembley it just won't be the same.

I still expect a good game, though, and it's Arsenal who I think will get ahead of him.

That's not to say Chelsea aren't dangerous either. I just feel like Arsenal have more momentum and confidence right now, but otherwise it's difficult to separate the two teams.

Prediction: 1-0

Lawro's predictions against Josh Franceschi and Willie J Healey

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard
Dave Sexton led them to the glory of the 1971 Cup Winners' Cup. The last Englishman to manage Chelsea in a major cup final was Glenn Hoddle in the 1994 FA Cup, lost to Manchester United.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won their two previous FA Cup finals against Chelsea: 2-0 in 2002 and 2-1 in 2017.
  • However, Chelsea have won their other two encounters in the major finals, going 2-1 in the 2007 League Cup and 4-1 in last year's Europa League showpiece.
  • Chelsea's only victory in their last nine FA Cup clashes with the Gunners came in the 2009 semi-finals.

Arsenal

  • Arsenal have reached the FA Cup final 21 times and have also won the competition 13 times - more than any other team. They have participated in 15% of all FA Cup finals.
  • The Gunners have not lost an FA Cup final at Wembley since a 1-0 loss to West Ham in 1980.
  • Arsenal have finished outside the Premier League top six this season for the first time in 25 years.
  • They have failed to score in any of their last 31 FA Cup games.

Chelsea

  • This is Chelsea's 14th FA Cup final; only Arsenal (21) and Manchester United (20) have achieved more.
  • They have lost just one of their last 15 FA Cup matches.
  • Since his FA Cup debut in 2013, Olivier Giroud has scored 16 goals in the competition - just behind Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.
  • The Frenchman aims to become the second player to score for and against a specific team (Arsenal) in separate FA Cup finals. Frank Stapleton scored for Arsenal against Manchester United in the 1979 final and then for the Red Devils in the 1983 final against Brighton.

This article appeared first on: https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/53546100

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