Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC (Wembley Stadium – 27 May 2017)
This will be 136th FA Cup Final to be contested and pits the most successful club in the competition’s history, Arsenal FC, against the most successful FA Cup club in the 2000s, Chelsea FC.
Arsenal have won the FA Cup 12 times and this will be a record 20th appearance for the Gunners in the Final whilst Chelsea are into their 12th Final in total having won seven times previously. Since 1999 both clubs have won the FA Cup five times, but Chelsea have the slightly better FA Cup record by virtue of one more Quarter Final appearance.
Whoever wins this year’s Final can rightly make the claim to be regarded as the best FA Cup team of the 2000s.
Additionally, Arsene Wenger has the opportunity to lead his team to FA Cup glory for a record SEVENTH Time.
This is the 14th time the clubs have been ‘drawn’ against each other in the FA Cup. In fact, Arsenal are Chelsea’s most common FA Cup opponent, and Chelsea become Arsenal’s joint most common opposition equal to Manchester United.
The Gunners have won eight of these London rivals’ previous FA Cup encounters whilst the Blues have won just five times. There have also been six draws. Chelsea had the upper hand in their early meetings winning the very first encounter 1-0 in 1914/15 season. Arsenal, however, have been dominant in recent history, although the Blues did win 2-1 the last time the clubs met in the FA Cup in the Semi Final in 2009.
Their 19 previous matches have returned 38 goals in total (an average of two goals per game) with both clubs having scored the same number of FA Cup goals against each other.
Of course, the two sides have also previously met in the Final itself, at the Millennium Stadium in 2002, where two goals in the last 20 minutes by Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg gave the Gunners a 2-0 victory.
This is the 19th time that two clubs will meet in the FA Cup Final after already previously having met at this stage of the competition. This is actually the second successive ‘repeat’ FA Cup final following Manchester United and Crystal Palace last season, the first time that has happened for 21 years when Manchester United met first Everton and then Liverpool in successive finals, the second time the Red Devils had met both Merseyside clubs.
The very first time there were two successive ‘repeat’ FA Cup Finals was way back in 1878 when The Wanderers beat Royal Engineers for the second time a season after defeating Oxford University for the second time!
Arsenal have scored 16 goals en route to this season’s FA Cup Final, one more than their opponents Chelsea, but one less than Tottenham Hotspur who are the current highest scoring League club in the competition this season with 17 goals. However, that is significantly lower than Westfields of the Midland League who scored 25 goals from their first tie in the Extra Preliminary Round way back in the first week of August, right up to their eventual departure in the First Round in November.
Theo Walcott is Arsenal’s top scorer in the FA Cup this season with five goals, whilst both Pedro and Willian have netted four times for Chelsea. Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur) and Adam Morgan (for Curzon Ashton) are the top goal-scorers with six apiece for all ‘Proper’ Round games (from First Round onwards). However, Olly McCoy (now at Birmingham City) scored NINE goals for Southern League side Beaconsfield SYCOB as they battled through to the Fourth Qualifying Round.
As Premier League champions, Chelsea have the opportunity to achieve the ‘Double’ for the second time in their history, last achieved seven years ago after defeating Portsmouth 1-0 in the FA Cup Final. They would become only the third club to claim a ‘Double’ on more than one occasion with both Manchester United and Arsenal having achieved the feat three times apiece.
All in all, there is potential for a lot of bragging rights for whoever wins the FA Cup this year. Record ever number of FA Cup Final victories, top dog in the Cup since 1999, top goalscorer of this year’s competition, a chance for FA Cup Final revenge, and the opportunity for a potential double ‘double’.
And with neither side never having lost an FA Cup Final at the New Wembley, Chelsea 4 wins and Arsenal 2 wins, it should make for a fascinating encounter.
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