The FA Cup title will be up from grabs when Arsenal take on their arch-rivals Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
It promises to be an intriguing game as both sides have a lot riding on the clash. 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.
Ahead of the game, here are three key battles to watch out for in the upcoming London derby this Saturday.
FA Cup: Arsenal vs Chelsea – 3 Key Battles
#1 Alexandre Lacazette vs. Kurt Zouma
Alexandre Lacazette is expected to lead the line for Arsenal. Lacazette is a clinical finisher, has the capability of holding the ball in the final third, and knows exactly where the goal is, which makes him a lethal striker.
He will be up against Chelsea central defender Kurt Zouma who has been in a decent form lately. The latter has been an important cog in his side’s defensive setup and he will need to keep Lacazette at bay with his strong physicality and no-nonsense tackling skills.
Since the re-start, Lacazette has done well against the bigger teams, having scored goals against derby rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and Premier League champions Liverpool. The Arsenal fans will hope their forward turns up on the big occasion once again.
#2 Hector Bellerin vs. Christian Pulisic
With 9 goals and 4 assists in 25 league outings, Christian Pulisic has weaved his magic on numerous occasions this season. He has bamboozled opposition defences with his pace and trickery, and has been too hot to handle.
After a slow start, Pulisic has firmly hushed his critics this season, and has been compared to Eden Hazard by a part of the supporters.
Hector Bellerin will be primarily tasked with the task of nullifying the threat of Pulisic, and to not let him settle in the FA Cup final.
The Spaniard has to match the Chelsea winger for pace, which he has in abundance, and also ensure he pushes Pulisic back with his own attacking forays. Chelsea’s defending has been far from impressive this season, and Bellerin will have an important role to play in the attacking areas.
#3 Dani Ceballos vs. Jorginho
Dani Ceballos has fitted perfectly into Arteta’s plans of revolutionising Arsenal. Ceballos is a shrewd distributor of the ball, and apart from creating chances and circulation possession efficiently, he has pressed opposition players well, out of possession.
It is to be seen how Jorginho fares against Ceballos and a lot could hinge on this battle. Against Wolves in his side’s last league outing, the 28-year-old showed how crucial his presence his in patrolling the area in front of the backline, and he will hope to produce another impactful display.
This might not be a direct battle on the pitch, but the player who finishes the game with the better numbers and a bigger impact could end up on the winning side.