The FA Cup final is here and we are looking forward to it in the best possible way. Arsene Wenger needs a cup at the end of a bad season whereas Conte needs a cup to ensure his good times at Chelsea continues.
The question is – will Wenger’s back 3 system be enough to unhinge Conte’s Chelsea and gain some redemption?
For Arsenal, it has been a season with more questions than answers. Even Wenger’s tried and tested 4-2-3-1 system was questioned mid-season. This was out of desperation to the fact that he no more has players who can play this system and succeed. The manager answered one of many questions by changing his system to 3 at the back.
Arsenal have won 8 out of the 9 games since but the biggest test awaits. Chelsea have played this system since September and they’ve won a league title with this. Of course, the Gunners have improved defensively but countering against the best might be tough.
Wenger’s back 3 most of the time had Holding/Gabriel, Koscielny and Monreal with Gibbs and Chamberlain/Bellerin as wingbacks. The main problem leading up to this final is the absence of Koscielny (red card) and injury to Gabriel.
The replacements aren’t that good which would worry Wenger, Mustafi and Mertesacker being the candidates to take up that Koscielny role aren’t that good. Mustafi has an injury problem and Mertesacker has just returned to first time after a year.
For Chelsea, this season couldn’t get perfect but a double will make it even better. It was Conte who started playing 3 at the back when they were comprehensively defeated by Arsenal in September. The 3-4-2-1 has worked wonders for Conte and Chelsea since then, winning the league and favourites to lift the FA Cup.
Wenger obviously contemplated Conte’s system and deployed it when the need came. Arsenal are better with this system but will that be enough against a Chelsea side who play this week in week out from the past 8 months. The worrying fact for the Gunners will be the wide areas where Chelsea are irresistible with flying
The worrying fact for the Gunners will be the wide areas where Chelsea are irresistible with flying wingbacks Alonso and Moses. Likes of Gibbs and Bellerin have to cope with that otherwise it will be too easy for Hazard and Costa to get at the back 3.
Arsenal have Sanchez and Ozil in their armoury to break down a stubborn Chelsea defence. But it will be a tall task if their wingbacks are pushed back and Chelsea’s midfield start to dominate space. Xhaka and Ramsey in midfield have to make sure they don’t get too higher up and give spaces in between the lines.
There are many factors and repercussions related to this game, Wenger needs a win to give his fans something. The pressure is on the manager big time, a loss could well be the end of his time at Arsenal. Even winning the FA Cup might not convince the fans after a disappointing 5th place finish in the league.
For Chelsea and Conte, this win could serve them as a boost for next season. A double in his first season in England would be icing on the cake for the Italian. They’ve an experienced squad with all departments covered and are worthy favourites for the final.
It’d be interesting to see whether Conte starts with Willian or Pedro on the right. Fabregas is a good option in midfield but will the Spaniard replace Kante/Matic remains to be seen.
All in all, a cracking final is on the cards with loads of reputation and factors at stake. After all, it is a London derby in one of the best stadiums in the World and London. Winner takes all pride of England and probably go into summer better mentally.