ARSENAL face London rivals Chelsea in the FA Cup final from Wembley on Saturday evening. Tom Love (@TomLove_18) shares his thoughts.
Arsenal vs Chelsea | Saturday 1st August 2020, 17:30 | BBC
These two sides always seem to do pretty well in the FA Cup. At least one of Arsenal and Chelsea have featured in 13 of the finals since the turn of the millennium and they’ve actually met each other in two of those, the 2002 and 2017 finals to be exact. They also met in last season's Europa League final so the two famous London outfits know all about each other.
Many were lining up and all Manchester affair but the underdogs prevailed and got past both. Chelsea were excellent against Manchester United whilst Arsenal showed some rare defensive resolve against the current holders, Manchester City. The bookies have chalked Chelsea up as favourites here and understandably so, they did finish 10 points ahead of the Gunners after all. The bBlues are also way ahead of the Gunners in the performance data rankings.
Chelsea are easily top three fodder when it comes to a whole host of underlying metrics, sitting second on Expected Goals (xG) ratio whilst Arsenal can count themselves to have finished eighth as they ranked as the 14th best side on xG ratio. Arsenal conceded over four xG oals last time out against Watford, showing their propensity to give up good chances. Chelsea, on the other hand, were deserved winners against Wolves, limiting the Old Gold to just 0.23 xG.
N’Golo Kante and Willian are fit to play which is a boost, the only player Frank Lampard will be missing is youngster Billy Gilmour. Olivier Giroud has been immense in leading the line and has knitted everything together at the top end of the pitch. Christian Pulisic has had a hot streak since games have gone behind closed doors and the American will be hopeful of a starting berth here but it's an area that Chelsea are stacked with talent.
Arsenal still have quite a few injuries to deal with Bern Leno, Gabrielle Martinelli, Pablo Mari, Shrokdan Mustafi and Callum Chambers all ruled out. Mikel Arteta has seemingly ostracised Matteo Guendouzi and Cedric Soares is cup tied. I’m not convinced they can keep this Chelsea side out and their poor attacking process does leave a lot to be desired. I’m more than happy to back Chelsea to win in 90 minutes at anything odds-against so the 23/20 available with GentingBet will be my main play.
I’m also going to dip into the props market for a bet. Hector Bellerin has been playing a more advanced role of late operating as a wing back as Arteta opts for a 3-4-3 formation these days. That greater license for the Spaniard means he’s been having a few more pops at goal. He’s had a shot in three of his last four starts and with Chelsea’s weakness being at left back it could be an area they target.
Pokerstars go 27/20 on the 25 year-old to register a shot and that’s a very appealing price, as is the 4/1 that Bellerin attempts a shot from outside the box given half of his shots are from beyond the 18 yards.
Arsenal vs Chelsea – Chelsea to win (23/20 GentingBet)
Arsenal vs Chelsea – Hector Bellerin 1+ shot (27/20 Pokerstars)
Arsenal vs Chelsea – Hector Bellerin 1+ shot outside the box (4/1 PokerStars)