We now know which two teams will contest this season’s FA Cup final. They are Arsenal and Chelsea. Yes, it’s an all London final, and despite the publicity that London’s professional football clubs get, this is the first all-London FA Cup final in 53 years. The last time it happened was back in 1967, when Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea 2-1.
South West Londoners, Chelsea, the beaten finalists in the last all-London clash, will play North Londoners, Arsenal. The two clubs have played each other 200 times in all competitions over the years. Arsenal have won 76 of those encounters, Chelsea has won 65, and there have been 59 draws.
In the FA Cup, Arsenal and Chelsea have met on 20 occasions. Arsenal won nine of those matches, Chelsea five, and six ended in draws. So, statistically, Arsenal are in the ascendancy. In terms of FA Cup finals featuring the two clubs, they met in 2002, when Arsenal won 2-0, and again in 2017, when Arsenal again won, this time by 2-1. Once again, the statistics favour the North London side.
However, the Blues do have some statistics on their side. When it comes down to which clubs respect the FA Cup the most, Chelsea comes 8th in a list of 15 teams, and Arsenal comes 14th.
The other thing Chelsea have going for them in the statistics is players with good goal scoring records in the Cup – listed under which players enjoy the Cup the most. They are chosen from players whose teams had made it through to the 5th round of this season’s FA Cup.
Their French forward, Olivier Giroud, is third in the list, behind Wayne Rooney with 23 goals and Sergio Aguero with 19 goals. Giroud has scored 15 goals according to the published statistic, but that has now risen to 16 goals as he scored another last Sunday against Manchester United. There is also the fact that he used to play for Arsenal, so he would dearly love to score against them in the final.
The other Chelsea player in the list is their Brazilian, attacking midfielder, Willian Borges da Silva (known better as simply, Willian), who has scored 10 goals.
There are no Arsenal players in the list. But, having said that, the Gunners’ French striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, is the third top scorer in the Premiership this season. First is Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy with 23 goals; second is Southampton’s Danny Ings with 21 goals, and third is Aubameyang with 20 goals.
It was Aubameyang’s two goals that knocked Manchester City out of the FA Cup last Saturday, so he is definitely a force with which to be reckoned.
So, who will win this all London final scheduled to be played at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 1st August? The form-book favours Chelsea, but there is more than a sneaking suspicion that Arsenal might pull it off.
Fans won’t have much of an influence, of course, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, which, while receding at the moment, still governs the size of get-togethers and recommended social distancing. The game will be played behind closed doors.
Certainly, the statistics are in Arsenal’s favour, and they did cause an upset when they upended Cup favourites Manchester City last weekend. It could well be the Gunners’ year again, although Frank Lampard’s men are bound to have something to say about that.