The final match of the English season will see more than 90,000 fans pack Wembley to see two of the country's biggest teams battle for the sport's oldest trophy (Saturday, 12 p.m. on FOX). But while Chelsea and Arsenal are aiming for the same title, it would mean very different things for them. Chelsea, Premier League champs, are hoping to cap a tremendous season with a double, while Arsenal want to salvage a bitterly disappointing campaign with a trophy.
What are the keys to the contest?
The Arsenal defense is in bad shape
Last week was a defensive disaster for Arsenal, not because of how the backline played but what it did to their defenders. Shkodran Mustafi missed out with a concussion, and he hasn't trained since. Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny was a shown a red card that has him suspended for the FA Cup final and Gabriel Paulista suffered a serious knee injury that will keep him out.
The best case scenario for Arsenal is pairing Mustafi next to Per Mertesacker or Rob Holding, which is not comforting for the Gunners. More realistically, they will probably have to play Mertesacker with Holding and then ask them to keep Eden Hazard and Diego Costa in check. Good luck.
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Arsene Wenger's last stand
Wenger's run as Arsenal manager may come to an end after Saturday's match. He's admitted that his future will be decided at a post-final board meeting and there's no telling what the result will be. Bringing home the FA Cup could make Wenger's case to stay stronger, so could that push the Gunners a little harder?
Hangover for Chelsea?
Chelsea captured the Premier League title, already making for a great season at Stamford Bridge. The question is when did they stop celebrating? Or did they ever stop? Winning the title with a couple weeks to spare allowed them to ease up a bit, but now they have to turn it back up again one last time. Can they do that or do they have a title hangover?
Battle of the back threes?
Chelsea took off once they switched to a back three in the fall. By the spring, Arsenal hadn't gotten their boost and Arsene Wenger also tried a back three. His attempt didn't go nearly as well, with some decent results masking underwhelming performances, but he may try it again against Chelsea. He would probably even prefer it, but he may not have enough centerbacks to pull it off.
The Arsenal Football Club Plc
Can Alexis Sanchez be the hero again?
Time after time this season, Arsenal looked incapable of getting a result. Maybe they were listless, or maybe they were just out-gunned by a better team. But Alexis never looked out of place. The brilliant Chilean racked up goals, brought his teammates into the attack and, at times, might as well have been a one-man attack. Arsenal will need him to be his usual incredible self to give them a shot against the Blues.