FA Cup
(Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs)

The FA Cup final is finally here. After all competitions were postponed, people have been eagerly waiting for them to come back. The FA Cup is here to start the August month of competition with Arsenal vs. Chelsea. This will ultimately be a close game with how inconsistent the teams have been since the return. So, here is a preview of the game.

Both of these teams had inconsistencies through Premier League.

For Arsenal, they could win games against Liverpool and Manchester City. However, they would also lose games to Watford, Aston Villa and Brighton. Before the pause, most of their games would end in ties or close wins.

For Chelsea, it was a very similar situation. They could match up to win against Man City and Manchester United. However, they lost games to Sheffield United and West Ham. They tied their game to Bournemouth and barely won their game against Norwich City. Both teams ended in relegation spots. Similarly, to Arsenal, before the pause, they would tie games or have close wins.

The last face-off between each other ended in a 2-2 tie. With very similar roadmaps and team rebuilding, it makes this game hard to predict.

Arsenal Breakdown

Mikel Arteta has faced a hard time rebuilding the team after the sacking of Unai Emery in December. Arteta moved to make a 3-4-3 formation as their default, which has seemed to work as of recent.

Arsenal’s defense is stronger than Chelsea’s. With David Luiz and Kieran Tierney running the defense, they’re shutting down plays well.

The team has a sturdy midfield with players like Granit Xhaka and the young star Bukayo Saka. There was also good news of Hector Bellerin coming back to play. All of them can feed plays to the forwards and score well.

Arsenal’s forward line has become stronger throughout this season. Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have made all the headlines this season for Arsenal. More specifically, Aubameyang has proved his worth over the last month to Arteta, and most likely won’t be going anywhere this transfer season.

Although they have strong lines, they are missing many players. Defender Shkodran Mustafi has been missing on a hamstring injury and won’t be back until October. Then they are also missing Calum Chambers, Gabriel Martinelli, Bern Leno and Pablo Mari.

The team has also been missing out on Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi. They both don’t fit into Arteta’s vision for Arsenal. Which is why they are probably on their way out this season or when their contracts end.

Arteta has recognized Chelsea’s good playing streak that they’re on, but is still confident in Arsenal’s desire to win.

“The only aim, the only focus, and all our energy is going to be on winning that trophy, it doesn’t matter where we start,” Arteta said.

“Two big clubs playing each other, Chelsea are in a really good moment, they have come back so far this season to where they are. They are playing a really good level. We are going to go for it.”

Chelsea Breakdown

Frank Lampard has made his vision for Chelsea very clear. With his recent signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech, he has made his statements for a strong offensive line next year clear. Although he’s been able to create a great offensive line, their defense has fallen behind substantially.

Chelsea’s defense is mediocre. They do have Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudiger. Zouma is a good center than can anchor the back three, but they haven’t shown their ability to keep up with good offensive lines. Then Chelsea has recently decided to swap out Kepa Arrizablaga with Wilfred Caballero. Kepa has been able to help maintain Chelsea’s low concessions, but there is some friction between him and Lampard. Enough for Kepa to public say he wants to leave Chelsea.

Although the back is lacking, the midfield is the beginning of a strong force for Chelsea. Reece James, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Alonso are a good line. They have been great while Tammy Abraham was out on injury. However, he is back and could be a good sub or starter for Chelsea. It is the same for N’golo Kante’s return. He should be ready to play by Saturday and may make an appearance during the game. Sadly, Pedro Rodriguez won’t make an appearance after playing his last game for the club last week.

The forward line is one that Arsenal needs to look out for. With Christian Pulisic, Olivier Giroud and Mason Mount in front, the chances of Chelsea scoring are high. They may be more motivated to do well to prove their spot with the new guys coming in.

Both Billy Gilmour and Ruben Loftus are out, but Willian could make his way back in. It will be interesting to see if Lampard plays Willian since he wasn’t doing well towards the end of the Premier League season.

Lampard is hoping that his team can stay focused during the game so they can win.

“It will be strange to have no fans,” Lampard said. “We are getting used to it. We want fans back, but we have to respect current circumstances. The fact we are used to it means you can focus on what’s in front. If you do win then the FA Cup title stays with you forever.”

Prediction

So, taking a look at all of the players that each team has, they’re both very strong. Arsenal has a better overall lineup. However, Chelsea has been playing better than Arsenal. Chelsea was able to finish Premier League in fourth to qualify for next year’s Champions League, while Arsenal finished in eighth.

The chances are that this game is going to be very close. But Chelsea is ultimately going to pull away with the FA Cup title. Arsenal will be able to score since Chelsea is still trying to rebuild a defense. But Chelsea’s front line has been showing up this season.

The final score will probably be close to a 3-2 win for Chelsea, possibly even a 4-2 score.

The game will be played at Wembley Stadium at 12:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Aug. 1.