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FA Cup preview: Arsenal v Chelsea, key man out, Ospina starts + prediction

By on May 27, 2017

Arsenal fa cup

Arsenal will look to end a disappointing season on a high note when we take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley this evening.

We come in to the game in decent form having won 8 of our last 9 games in all competitions since Arsene Wenger switched to a new 3-4-2-1 formation.

However, we left ourselves with too much to do in the Premier League and sadly we ended up missing out on the top four for the first time in 20 years.

The failure to quality for the Champions League has led to increased calls for Wenger to leave when his contract ends next month and many feel winning the FA Cup would be a good way for him to end his reign in north London.

But that’s not going to be easy as we’re up against the best team in the country with Antonio Conte leading Chelsea to their fifth Premier League title this season.

Team news

Mustafi looks to have lost his race to be fit having been unable to train all last week due to concussion so we’re facing a crisis at the back as Koscielny is suspended and Gabriel has been ruled out for up to eight weeks with a knee injury.

Thankfully Gibbs is fit after recovering from a thigh injury so he can play in the left wing-back position allowing Monreal to start in the back three – if Wenger chooses to retain it.

Rob Holding is certain to keep his place and if Mustafi is out then it looks like Mertesacker is set for his first start of the season.

Sanchez is fit and available for selection after shrugging off a minor hamstring problem while Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in contention after overcoming his own hamstring complaint.

Reports this morning claim that Wenger is set to go with No.2 Opsina in goal with Cech on the bench, which would be a huge risk if true.

While Arsenal have huge selection problems at the back, Chelsea have no such worries as Conte has a fully-fit squad to choose from.

Preferred line-up

For me, Cech simply has to start in goal as he’s by far the better goalkeeper and he’s been in excellent form of late. Ospina has made it clear he’s leaving this summer so it makes absolutely no sense to start him.

Obviously we all hope Mustafi makes a miraculous recovery but it looks as though he’s out so we have little option but to  go with Holding, Mertesacker and Monreal at the back.

It’s a tough call at right wing-back but I’d go with Bellerin as he’s match fit and has more defensive capability to deal with Hazard. Otherwise, I think the team picks itself.

In reality, I expect Wenger to go with this side with the exception of Ospina in goal. As for Chelsea they are expected to line-up:

Courtois, Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso, Pedro, Hazard, Costa

Prediction

It’s a cup final so anything can happen but we’re certainly the underdogs this evening. Chelsea are a machine and they’ll be on a high after winning the league but we have reasons to be confident too. We have the opportunity to win the FA Cup for the third time in four years so this squad certainly knows how to handle a Wembley final and we’re on a good run of form ourselves right now.

Obviously there will be concerns at the back but if we can sit deep and stifle Chelsea, then we have the quality in attack to hurt them. My head says we’re in for a tough game but my heart says we can sneak a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes and either win it in extra-time or on penalties. Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea [Arsenal to win in extra-time/penalties].

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