Arsenal v Chelsea
Live on BBC One and BT Sport 2
Live on BBC One and BT Sport 2
Another season, another unpredictable summer in store for Arsenal. The Gunners did their usual routine of turning it on in the final few weeks of the Premier League season, but for once it was not enough: Liverpool held firm in fourth and, for the first time since Arsene Wenger arrived as manager all those years ago, the top four remained out of their grasp.
The Frenchman hinted at behind-the-scenes disquiet in his press conference after the final-day win over Everton, but the likelihood is that he will sign a new contract at the Emirates in the weeks ahead. What that means for the team, with Alexis Sanchez seemingly angling for a move and Mesut Ozil yet to put pen to paper on his new deal, is anyone's guess.
Before all that, of course, there is the welcome distraction of another FA Cup final - Arsenal's third in four seasons. Their hopes of making it a hat-trick of wins, though, have been severely dented by the team news: Laurent Koscielny is suspended, Gabriel is injured and Shkodran Mustafi has been struggling with concussion and may not be risked. That puts Wenger's new back three in doubt, unless he's brave enough to go with a combination of youth (Rob Holding), ageing legs (Per Mertesacker) and a slightly out-of-position Nacho Monreal.
It has been party time at Chelsea since they wrapped up the title at West Brom. Not always in a literal sense - although you'd have money on Diego Costa having exceeded the recommended units over the last fortnight - but certainly in terms of group psychology: witness David Luiz channelling Santa Claus with gifts to his team-mates, Antonio Conte getting 'kidnapped' from press conferences, John Terry being indulged to a hilarious degree in the win over Sunderland.
The Blues have earned it, of course, and could yet pop a cherry on top of their season at Wembley this weekend. The FA Cup has been on the back burner for a while, but theirs has been a fine run to the final, taking in victories over Manchester United and Tottenham. And make no mistake: Conte will really, really want to secure the double on Saturday.
There are no real personnel issues to worry about and a number of key players were rested at some point or another over the final few games. The only real dilemma is in midfield, where Cesc Fabregas, Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kante are competing for two places. That's a nice problem to have.
Chelsea were head and shoulders above Arsenal this term and come into this match full of confidence. The league winners have gone on to win the FA Cup on 11 of 18 occasions they've played in the final, and with no injury troubles and serenity in the changing room, it's no surprise that the Blues are 1.84 favourites to come out on top.
Arsenal, though, did finish the season strongly, winning their last five Premier League matches. They've also won their last five FA Cup finals - including one against Chelsea in 2002 - and can be backed at 4.90, with the draw at 3.85.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Both of the Premier League meetings between these sides went over the 2.5-goal mark, Arsenal thrashing a pre-back-three Chelsea 3-0 before the Blues gained revenge with an Eden-Hazard-inspired 3-1 success at Stamford Bridge.
Given the defensive absences on the Arsenal side, it's hard to see them keeping things tight at Wembley, so chances are they will have to score to get anything from this game. FA Cup finals are not always thrill-a-minute, but this looks more likely to be an open contest, so the overs looks the pick at 1.82.
The key man in Chelsea's run to the final has arguably been Pedro, who has scored four goals in the competition so far. A Spaniard has scored in the final in two of the last three years (Santi Cazorla in 2014, Juan Mata last term) and the former Barcelona man, a big-game performer who netted off the bench against Sunderland, looks an attractive pick here at 4.20.
Anthony Taylor has been handed the whistle for Saturday's showpiece, making a "long-standing dream" come true. The 38-year-old will want to put the March match between Burnley and Swansea to the back of his mind; when the ball struck Sam Vokes on the hand, he gave a penalty... to the Clarets.
Back Chelsea to win at 1.84
Back Pedro to score at 4.20
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