Tag Archives: FA Cup

Aubameyang double sees Arsenal secure their fourteenth FA Cup against Chelsea

This season was not the easiest for Arsenal as they struggled with manager Unai Emery, before making the change and bringing in former player and Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta. After an improvement in their form since the restart, The Gunners were able to win the London Derby FA Cup matchup against Chelsea, 2-1.

The Blues were able to capitalise first after Christian Pulisic received the ball from Olivier Giroud and found the back of the net just five minutes into the game.

 

Twenty-minutes later, however, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from the penalty spot after drawing a foul from CĂ©sar Azpilicueta, who was shown a yellow card for his actions.

 

In the beginning parts of the first half, Chelsea were looking dominant and it seemed like Pulisic’s goal was going to be the start of a great match. However, the latter half of the half was all Arsenal. Overall, it was not a great first 45 minutes for either of the defences.

After both teams had their fair share of chances to score, it was Arsenal who took the lead in the 67th minute. Captain Aubameyang was once again able to punish Chelsea, who felt that the goal should have been disallowed after an incident between Andreas Christensen and Héctor Bellerín.

 

Things went from bad to worse for Chelsea as Mateo Kovacic was shown a controversial second yellow card of the game by referee Anthony Taylor for his challenge on Granit Xhaka.

Ultimately, the fourth-place finishers of the Premier League were down to nine men when Pedro, who is set to depart London for AS Roma, needed to receive oxygen before being stretchered off the field to put the cherry on the top of what was already a horrendous match for The Blues.

Although Chelsea were able to have 60 percent of the possession throughout the match, it was Arsenal who were able to finish their chances. The eye-opening statistic was that The Blues committed 14 fouls compared to two for The Gunners. 

The North London-side were subsequently able to their 14th FA Cup in the competition’s history, which has helped them clinch a spot in next season’s Europa League, while also knocking out Wolverhampton from the competition.

 For Arsenal, they will start its preparations for the next Premier a League season, which is set to start on September 12. Chelsea, meanwhile, will face off against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena next Saturday, but are currently trailing 3-0 on aggregate.

Arsenal face Chelsea in all London FA Cup final

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.

Chelsea defeat Manchester United to advance to FA Cup final

They say that the third time’s a charm, but Chelsea needed a fourth battle to finally defeat Manchester United as they stamped their ticket to the FA Cup final.

In seemed like both squads were going to head into the halftime break scoreless. That was until the 11th-minute of extra-time, when Olivier Giroud, who has been exceptional since the restart, found the back of the net after receiving a cross for CĂ©sar Azpilicueta.

 

The Blues entering the second half up by one against The Red Devils, subsequently they came out of the gates storming. After a poor pass from Brandon Williams, Mason Mount pounced on the ball and capitalise on the opportunity to put the South London-side one-step closer to their first final since 2017.

 

It went from bad to worse for  The Red Devils in the 74th-minute, when Harry Maguire’s studs connected to a cross from Marcos Alonso, which ended up getting past David de Gea.

 

Manchester United were able to get their consolation in the 85th-minute courtesy of a penalty from Bruno Fernandes. This sequence was caused by Callum Hudson-Odoi fouling Anthony Martial in the penalty area.

 

Overall, Chelsea dominated the game and caused the Red Devil’s de Gea to experience hell on Earth with a performance to forget. Even though Manchester United held 51 percent of the possession,  The Blues managed almost twice as many attempts on goal (13 to seven) and had less shots on target (seven to three).

Chelsea will now prepare for its battle against cross-city rivals Arsenal in the FA Cup final at Wembley. However, their next game is a Premier League matchup against the champions, Liverpool, on Wednesday at Anfield. Manchester United, meanwhile, will play hosts to West Ham United on Wednesday as they vie for a Champions League spot.

See updated Premier League table in link below:

https://247-football.com/2020/06/25/premier-league-table/

 

FA cup semi-final previews

The FA cup returns this weekend with an exciting round of fixtures set in store. The fixtures are the competition’s most competitive final rounds in the last few years.

The North side of London and Manchester will be competing for glory as Arsenal face off against Manchester City and Manchester United play Chelsea.

I give my thoughts on both fixtures as an exciting weekend of football awaits.

Arsenal vs Manchester City

Well this one could be predictable…

After a torrid return to football, Arsenal have looked much improved since their defeat to Brighton and despite a 2-1 loss to Spurs, they will go into this game with decent spirits.

They have looked more resolute in defence overall, a mistake for Tottenham’s opener can’t be forgotten. Ultimately, you would expect Manchester City to tear them apart much akin to the match played last month.

Pep Guardiola’s side have been rather inconsistent with their results, smashing Burnley and Liverpool but losing to Southampton and Chelsea – in both games they looked fairly shaky in defence.

Having said that, Guardiola has an imperious record when it comes to the domestic cup competitions. The Citizens have won eight out of a possible nine trophies (including Community Shields). They have also only lost one game at Wembley under Guardiola – although it was to Arsenal.

Such a record cannot be understated considering the venue and Gunner’s recent record against Manchester City makes for grim viewing for Arsenal fans.

The last time Arsenal won was in the 2017 FA Cup semi-final. Since then, they have played seven times – with City winning all of them and scoring three goals in six of those matches. They’ve also only conceded twice.

While Arsenal look improved under Mikel Arteta, the quality City possess is simply too much for this current crop of players for the red side of North London. I will expect them to put up a spirited fight but Manchester City’s near faultless record will continue.

Bukayo Saka offers them a great outlet and being potentially put up against an inconsistent Benjamin Mendy could be an interesting battle. City’s forward options should have no issues against Arsenal’s shaky defence.

David Luiz and Sead Kolasinac had a poor game against Spurs and they will be in trouble against much better opposition. Midfield also remains an area of question for Arsenal, coming up against Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Fernandinho, etc. will hopefully make for entertaining viewing from a neutral standpoint.

Arsenal will be boosted after their impressive win against champions Liverpool, but their poor record will stand true with this fixture.

Score Prediction: Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City

Manchester United vs Chelsea

United are coming into this game in terrific form, despite dropping points against Southampton they’ve scored goals for fun and at times looked defensively resolute.

Chelsea have been in decent form too but have shown plenty of inconsistency, losing to West Ham and Sheffield United. They look weak at times and can struggle in front of goal, whilst their midfield hasn’t been as effective as before.

Their options in attack are strong too, Christian Pulisic has been in inspired form since the restart. Hakim Ziyech is training with the club but isn’t allowed to take part in the remaining fixtures.

Manchester United are also gifted in attack, they have one of the most in form front threes in Europe and a brilliant midfield duo in Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes. Chelsea have shown fragility in defence so you could see United causing them plenty of problems.

Chelsea, like Arsenal, don’t have a great record against their opponents, in fact the last time they beat United was the 2018 FA Cup final. A very odd similar set of circumstances.

Since then, they’ve lost four out of six meetings – drawing the other two. They’ve actually lost their last three encounters, with an aggregate score of 8-1.

Frank Lampard will see this as the best chance of silverware this season. Chelsea are all but out of the Champions League, so this remains their only hope of domestic or European success.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær does have the option of the Europa League but I’m sure another trophy to fight for would be ideal to try and get United back to the force they were.

This game is huge for both clubs and managers, so should make for a tense contest. Both sides need silverware and their managers need some success to give themselves more time and improve their reputation.

With the fight for the Champions League places approaching a tense finish, this result could give the winner a huge mental edge when it comes to ending the season on a high.

I think United’s recent record and current form will get them through this game – although it will be very close.

Score Prediction: Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea

 

Chelsea advance to semifinals of FA Cup courtesy of Ross Barkley’s goal

Second-half substitute Ross Barkley scores his fourth goal in the FA Cup, which proved to be the game-winner for Chelsea as they win 1-0 at Leicester City in the quarterfinals.

In the early part of the match Leicester City, who are currently one spot ahead of The Blues in the Premier League, were looking dominate, but were unable to capitalize on any of their chances.

It all started when Harvey Barnes crossed the ball to Jamie Vardy within the first three minutes of the match but was denied by goalie Willy Caballero. Youri Tielemans and Jonny Evans also wasted good chances to get a goal for The Foxes.

Chelsea, fresh off helping Liverpool secure their first-ever Premier League title, had a chance to score in the first-half courtesy of in-form Christian Pulisic. However, the young American was stopped by a miraculous save from Kasper Schmeichel.

After the goalless first-half, Tammy Abraham, Chelsea’s leading goal scorer in the Premier League, had believed that he put his team up in front but was denied by an offside call.

However, the South London-side finally found the net in the 63rd-minute, when Barkley knocked in the cross from Willian, which went past Schmeichel for what ultimately was the deciding goal.

 

Leicester City has a chance to tie late in the game from center back Çağlar Söyüncü, but Cesar Azpilicueta deflected the ball.

The Blues have now advanced to the semi-final, where they will face Manchester United on the weekend of 18 and 19 July.