FA Cup Final: Key Battles to Watch Out for as Arsenal Face Chelsea at Wembley

Frank Lampard, Mikel Arteta
Frank Lampard and Mikel Arteta go head to head in the FA Cup Final at Wembley | Getty Images/Getty Images

Arsenal and Chelsea look to battle it out in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.

It promises to be an intriguing game, and undoubtedly, an important one for both sides. While Mikel Arteta’s side will look to qualify for next season’s Europa League by winning the FA Cup, Chelsea will hope to win their first piece of silverware under club legend Frank Lampard.

The Blues come into the final as favourites after managing to secure Champions League football for yet another season, as well as finishing with 10 more points than the Gunners in the Premier League.

However, they will be up against a resilient Arsenal side who have won all of their previous 7 FA Cup encounters at Wembley, with one of them the final against Chelsea back in 2017, where the north London side ran out as 2-1 winners.

Ahead of the game, here are three key battles to watch out for in the upcoming London derby this Saturday...

3. David Luiz v Olivier Giroud

Olivier Giroud, David Luiz
Rivals, teammates, and rivals again Luiz and Giroud come up against each other yet again | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Luiz played for Chelsea while Giroud played for Arsenal when the two sides last met at Wembley in the 2017 Community Shield. The pair have since switched clubs, but only after an overlap at Chelsea – where a friendship clearly blossomed.

Luiz has had a love-hate relationship with the Gunners faithful and he will be looking to redeem himself as he hopes to keep his former side at bay. Meanwhile, Giroud began the season as Tammy Abraham's backup, but found himself included more often in Frank Lampard's starting XI, scoring six times in the process as Chelsea secured a Champions League place.

On the biggest of stages, Luiz will be out to prove this is more than just a mini-revival, and winning the battle with Giroud could go some way towards affirming that, and win Arsenal a trophy to boot.

2. Hector Bellerin v Christian Pulisic

Pulisic has proved to be a vital cog in Lampard's side as they qualified for the Champions League next season
Pulisic has proved to be a vital cog in Lampard's side as they qualified for the Champions League next season | Visionhaus/Getty Images

With nine goals and four assists in 25 league outings, Pulisic has weaved his magic on numerous occasions this season. He has been in sublime form since the Premier League restarted, and has firmly cemented his place in Lampard's side.

Bellerin will be primarily tasked with nullifying the threat of Pulisic and to not let him settle in the game. The Spaniard will have to match the American's pace, which he has in abundance, and also ensure he pushes Pulisic back with his own attacking forays.

The Spaniard, meanwhile, has had a rather frustrating season for Arsenal with the Spaniard hit with a few injury problems in the early parts of the campaign. However, he’ll be looking to prove the critics wrong with bursts of pace down the right which may come in handy in the latter stages of the game.

1. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang v Cesar Azpilicueta

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang,Cesar Azpilicueta
Aubameyang presents a big threat for the Chelsea backline | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea switched to back three for their final two Premier League games, as well as the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, and Lampard will be expected to do likewise against Arsenal in an attempt to stifle their front three.

Mikel Arteta has a decision to make up front between Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, but captain Aubameyang is a near-certainty out on the left, where he will come up against Chelsea skipper Azpilicueta. The Gabonese ended his Premier League season with 22 goals with five more in other competitions, most notably the double which saw off Manchester City in the semi-final.

Chelsea’s most experienced defender will be tasked with smothering Arsenal’s biggest threat, and Azpilicueta will know this match-up will go some way towards deciding whether he or Aubameyang will be lifting the trophy in an empty Wembley.