The FA Cup Final – Will Chelsea Be Celebrating or Will Arsenal Seize Some Silverware?
The 2017 FA Cup competition concludes this weekend, with Arsenal facing Chelsea in the final. So who will be celebrating on Saturday – and could this be the Gunners’ last match with Wenger at the helm?
The FA Cup – Who Will Win the Silverware on Saturday?
Antonio Conte surprised some football fans earlier this week, when he declared the Gunners to be “favourites” for the win. Although the Blues have secured the 2017 Premiership title, their manager told the Independent that the Gunners’ disappointing season could spur them on to victory at Wembley.
“They only have this possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup,” he said. “For this reason, we must find motivation and find in ourselves the right anger.”
While it’s possible that his concerns about complacency creeping into the squad and affecting the players’ performance at the weekend could be valid, Arsene Wenger’s men will need to be on top form if they want to salvage something from the season.
Conte, who was presented with both the League Manager Association’s Manager of the Year and Premier Manager of the Year awards this week, has transformed the Blues since taking over in July 2016. The former Juventus manager has made a raft of changes, reassessing everything from the formation used to the squad members’ diets. Under his management, the Blues have risen to the top of the Premier League again, a distinct improvement on their tenth-place finish last year.
A win on Saturday would therefore see them end the season as holders of England’s two biggest domestic football trophies. Confident and capable, they’re surely the team to beat?
The FA Cup Final – Will Wenger Wave Goodbye After the Tie?
While Chelsea’s fans have been in celebratory mood recently, it’s been a different story in Highbury. Arsenal only finished fifth in the Premiership and failed to secure a place in next year’s Champions League competition. With no silverware collected so far and the prospect of Europa League action failing to delight the Gunners’ fans, things at the Emirates Stadium look bleak.
Arsene Wenger’s managerial contract is due to finish in the summer – and his future at the club is set to be discussed at a board meeting after Saturday’s match.
Following the Gunners’ failure to make it into the Champions League, he told the BBC that many factors had contributed to the club’s recent results.
“I believe since January we have played in a very difficult environment for different reasons,” he said. “Some you know about and that’s very difficult for a group of players to cope with that – and some other reasons we will talk about on another day.”
While the Gunners have failed to win the Premiership since 2003-04, however, they have won the FA Cup on twelve occasions, the last of which was just two years ago. If they’re successful on Saturday, they will have won the trophy on more occasions than any other team; and victory at Wembley would certainly give the fans something to cheer about.
In such unsettled times, however, will the squad be able fire themselves up enough to beat the on-form Blues? Whatever the result, with Wenger’s future seemingly hanging in the balance, there could be more than silverware at stake.
Which team are you backing for the FA Cup win? Do you think Wenger will stay or go? Tell us in the comments section, or chat to us on Facebook or Twitter.