Chelsea and Manchester United are in for another English football showdown as they clash in the 137th Emirates FA Cup final at the Wembley Stadium.
The memories of last year’s final where Arsenal defeated Chelsea to lift the trophy for the 7th time under former coach, Arsene Wenger, should spur the Blues going into this encounter as it remains now the only realistic chance for a trophy to close a season of dwindling fortunes.
However, Manchester United will be aiming to make amends for last season’s FA Cup meeting with Chelsea, after losing 1-0 at Stamford Bridge through N’Golo Kante’s low strike in the quarter-final.
Manchester United will be hoping to match Arsenal’s FA Cup record should they win against Chelsea as they will also be making their 20th FA Cup final appearance
The club last lifted the trophy in 2016 under Louis Van Gaal, but Jose Mourinho is aiming to lift the trophy for the first time since he became Manchester United manager.
Antonio Conte has suffered a torrid season with the Blues and this could be his last silverware for the club should he guide them to glory.
Both sides will be meeting for the third time in an FA Cup final. Manchester defeated Chelsea 4-0 in the 1993-1994 season to lift the FA Cup while in the 2006-2007 season, Didier Drogba’s lone strike made the difference as it was enough to hand Chelsea the trophy.
This season has seen both sides having a victory apiece from their two league encounters. Chelsea secured a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge in November thanks to Alvaro Morata’s second-half header, before the Reds came from behind to beat the Blues 2-1 at Old Trafford in February, courtesy of Lukaku’s close-range finish and a Jesse Lingard header.
Chelsea failed to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League as they suffered a horrible season which began with defeat at Stamford Bridge by Burnley and ended with a 3-0 loss to Newcastle.
Following a run of five straight wins, Chelsea failed to win either of their last two league games, labouring to a 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield Town.
Having reached their 13th final, the Blues are looking to win the competition for the eighth time and make up for their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in last season’s showpiece, knowing a win would guarantee them a place in the group stage of the Europa League next term.
Manchester United ended the season second behind rival, Manchester City and would want to end the season with an FA Cup victory, but they have a wounded Chelsea side to contend with.
Historically, the Reds have a positive record against the Blues, winning 74 of the sides’ 179 meetings in all competitions, stretching back to 1905. United also have the edge in the 14 previous FA Cup clashes between the teams, winning eight ties to Chelsea’s four with two draws leading to replays.
Saturday’s showpiece will be United’s 52nd appearance at the national stadium having won on 28 of the previous 51 visits, drawing five and losing 18. Those games have included 18 FA Cup finals, seven League Cup finals and two European Cup finals.
WHAT THE COACHES ARE SAYING
JOSE MOURINHO: “The game, of course, will make a difference, but one thing is to make a difference and another thing is to consider the season good or bad because of one match,” he replied.
“When I analyse the work I did, when I analyse the effort I put in, when I analyse everything we all did at the club, that obviously includes the most important people at the club, who are the players.
“I’m not going to analyse them because of one very important match. But I know what my players did, I know what I put in, I know the effort, I know the positive things, I know the negative things and I’m not going to change my analysis of the season because of the result of one match. Not at all.”
“As you can see, the weather is nice, the place is nice. Thank you very much to Watford FC for letting us use their facilities for two training sessions.
“Everything is relaxed and calm and we enjoy being together and, as I was saying, tomorrow after the match is goodbye.”
ANTONIO CONTE: “To get to the final for the second time in a row is a great achievement for me, my players and the fans”
‘I remember the last final against Arsenal very well. It was a strange game. The first goal wasn’t that good. We were able to come back to 1-1, we finished the game with 10 men because Victor Moses got a red card. It was a strange final and a pity because we had the possibility to do the double.
‘This game is very important because we can finish a difficult with a trophy. It’s important for the players, the coach and the fans to finish the season with a trophy.
‘We are focused on this target. We have to try to do everything to win the game. We need to be focused. It’s a really important competition, the oldest trophy in the world. My players will be focused on the game for sure.”