Saturday afternoon at 5.30 pm will see an all London Cup Final between Chelsea and Arsenal. These two London heavyweights will go toe to toe in what will be a unique occasion.
For the first time in its long and illustrious history, the final will be played in front of no fans.
Anthony Taylor will be in charge in his second FA Cup final. By some strange coincidence his first was the Final in 2017 between both of these sides.
These two London giants are used to meeting in a final at the end of the season, having been involved three times in the last four seasons with both sides having won two finals. Arsenal the FA Cup and Chelsea the League Cup Final and Europa League Final.
Arsenal are clearly the cup kings of England, having won the FA Cup a record 13 times and been involved in the final a record 21 times. The Gunners have also won their last six FA Cup Finals.
For Chelsea this will be their 14th FA Cup Final appearance with the Blues winning seven of their last nine finals. However both of those defeats were against Arsenal.
Back in 2017 Per Mertesacker captained Arsenal to victory over Chelsea by 2-1 at Wembley with Aaron Ramsey hitting a 79th minute winner to give manager Arsene Wenger his final piece of major silverware.
Thanks to second half goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg it was Arsenal who were crowned FA Cup winners in 2002, with the final being held in Cardiff.
Saturday’s FA Cup Final will see a contest with two up and coming managers at the helm. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta who is 38 and Frank Lampard 42, are the two youngest Premier League bosses and already have impressed the football world by their courageous tactics and game management.
Under Arteta, Arsenal’s two outstanding performances recently have been victories inside four days against Premier League champions Liverpool and an FA Cup semi-final triumph over Manchester City.
The Gunners have beaten Leeds, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Man City on their way to Wembley and only conceding two goals in the process.
Chelsea have had to overcome Nottingham Forest, Hull City, Liverpool, Leicester City and Manchester United in the semi-final to book their place at Wembley. Like Arsenal they have only let in two goals on their way to the final.
Both Arteta and Lampard have not been afraid to make ruthless decisions. Arteta’s refusal to pander to the whims of Mesut Ozil saw him excluded from the nine substitutes for the semi-final.
Lampard recently showed his merciless edge by dropping £71 million goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for Chelsea’s crucial final game of the season against Wolves.
So the stage is set for yet another London Derby, but for this one a trophy is at stake. It will be interesting to see how both sets of players perform in the extensive heat promised on Saturday and how they will adjust in the surreal surroundings of having no fans present in the Stadium.
Some players will flourish on this, others will freeze on the big stage, whatever happens it should be another classic final with Arsenal set to start of favourites. Whichever captain will get the privilege of holding the FA Cup after the game will be in the strange position of displaying it to no fans inside.
I wonder what type of celebrations we will see come Saturday evening? One thing is for sure the 139th FA Cup Final will be remembered for the final will little noise.