Listen to the Sky Sports FA Cup final preview podcast for analysis of Saturday’s showdown between Arsenal and Chelsea – plus the latest on each club’s transfer plans.
Last Updated: 30/07/20 4:09pm
How will Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard attempt to claim their first piece of silverware? We assessed the potential line-ups and tactics for Arsenal and Chelsea in the FA Cup final in a special Sky Sports preview podcast ahead of Saturday’s showpiece.
The London sides will meet at Wembley for a 5.30pm kick-off. For the Gunners there is the extra prize at stake of qualification for a Europa League group stage spot but both sides will be going out for glory at the end of a tough domestic season.
To look ahead to the final, Sky Sports’ Peter Smith was joined by features writer Nick Wright and Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour and, as well as discussing the progress of both teams and potential transfer targets which could strengthen those squads this summer, they also discussed how Arsenal and Chelsea would line up at Wembley…
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright…
“Losing [the injured] Shkodran Mustafi is a problem now for Arsenal. He has been very good since the restart. They’ll probably have to use Rob Holding in his place and they’ll need him to play as well as he did alongside Per Mertesacker in the 2017 final, when these two sides met at Wembley.
“It was interesting to see Arteta switch to a back four against Watford. That could be interpreted as an attempt to get them ready for the final, to do the same at Wembley. But it’s fair to say it didn’t exactly work in that game – Watford tore them to shreds really, at times. It was not a convincing defensive performance at all.
“I suspect he’ll probably revert to three at the back, using Holding and David Luiz with either Sead Kolasinac or Kieran Tierney as the third centre back. I’d probably opt for Tierney in that situation and then you’d have Bukayo Saka as the left wing-back.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Arteta opts for experience in this game. I think the same can be said for Lampard. As the season has worn on and the games have become more important, both of those managers – although they have a lot of good young players available to them – they have opted for the experienced option quite a lot of the time when it’s come down to the crunch.
“Hector Bellerin will play at right-back if he’s fit, he obviously missed the game at Watford. Then most likely it will be a Dani Ceballos-Granit Xhaka partnership again in midfield, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe in those attacking positions.
“That’s what I’d expect from Arteta, it’s just that question on the left-hand side.”
Sky Sports News’ Paul Gilmour…
“Lampard has gone for a back three for the last three games and they’ve got a bit of momentum – albeit one of those games being the 5-3 with Liverpool, which was a bit crazy. That was with Kepa but in the last two with Willy Caballero in goal there’s been a lot less drama, the Manchester United game and the Wolves game.
“You’d think they’d match up Arsenal if they decide to continue with a three, if the four hasn’t worked too well against Watford. Chelsea have used a back four for most of the season, that was Lampard’s favoured formation, 4-3-3.
“You’d think Giroud has done enough. He’s scored vital goals and crucially he’s been a really professional and influential figure around the changing room. He’s somebody who you’d think has got the nod ahead of Tammy Abraham, who seemed to have that early season momentum. This is Giroud’s competition. He’s scored 16 FA Cup goals – quite a few of them for Arsenal – but he does love Wembley. He called it ‘his garden’.
“The toughest decision for Lampard will be the players who play in and around him. Willian, we’ll have to wait and see if he’s fit, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic – it’s likely to be two from that three and all three of them have played very well of late.
“There could also be that boost of N’Golo Kante being fit and one argument would be that the game has come too soon for him having been out so long. He’s someone who could be trusted if he can prove his fitness – but you’d think Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho would get the nod and if he does go with a back three it would more than likely be Reece James and Marcos Alonso as wing-backs again.
“Caballero will be in goal then the back three – Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger and Kurt Zouma.
“He has got some decisions to make but it helps they’ve won recently in the Wolves game and there was no stresses or dramas, so he might go with something similar.”
For all the build-up, minute-by-minute coverage of the FA Cup final, plus reaction and analysis of the result, follow the Sky Sports Football live blog on skysports.com or the Sky Sports App, and tune in to Sky Sports News.