Can Arsenal beat the Odds and Chelsea in the FA Cup Final?
The FA Cup has given a lot to Arsenal in recent years, and Gunners fans will hope that continues to be the case when they face Chelsea this weekend.
With respect to Hull City and Aston Villa, victories in 2013/14 and 2014/15 were against significantly inferior opposition to the current Chelsea side.
The Premier League winners have been in strong form ever since Arsenal beat them 3-0 at the Emirates in September. Indeed, the reverse fixture ended in a 3-1 win for The Blues at Stamford Bridge.
So what do Arsenal’s chances look like heading into the cup final?
Arsenal pulled a string of wins together at the end of the season, but it unfortunately wasn’t enough to claim a Champions League place next season.
Five wins from six a strong run-in though, and Chelsea only bettered it one – winning six of their last six games.
In the game prior The Blues lost 0-2 at Old Trafford, and Arsenal’s last defeat was to North London rivals Tottenham at the end of April.
Consistency is key to title success though, and Chelsea have lost only five games this campaign compared to Arsenal’s nine defeats.
Arsenal’s FA Cup run has been relatively straightforward, with Man City presenting the sternest challenge in the Semi-finals.
Chelsea have faced strong opposition in the past two rounds, overcoming Man United in the Quarter-finals and Tottenham in the Semi-finals to secure a place at Wembley.
Arsenal’s move to a fashionable back-three formation has paid dividends for the Gunners from a defensive viewpoint.
However strong Arsenal’s defence has been though, Chelsea’s performance in front of goal across the last ten league games has been formidable.
Chelsea have scored 29 goals in those games, 11 more than the Gunners have managed, and an average of 2.9 goals per game.
With just nine goals conceded in ten, Arsenal have the stronger defensive form averages heading into the Final. But as would be expected, Chelsea are better at converting their chances in front of goal.
It’s likely that both teams will score on Saturday (56% probability), but Chelsea look current favourites to win (56% probability).
The most likely score line in 90 minutes is a 1-1 draw (11% probability), with Chelsea more likely to score first (56% probability).
Chelsea may be edging the statistical battle, but Cup Finals are as much about passion and determination as they are about numbers. Arsenal must overturn the odds and produce a season-best performance to claim a 13th FA Cup title.
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