FA Cup Final Arsenal vs Chelsea: Arteta hopeful, Lampard relaxed as London rivals face-off
Arsenal were outclassed 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku last year, largely due to a scintillating performance by Chelsea's wide forward Eden Hazard who has since moved to Real Madrid
Mikel Arteta, whose Arsenal side face London nemesis Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday, feels his side’s heavy loss to the Blues in last season’s Europa League final will not play on his players’ minds during the final at Wembley.
Arsenal were outclassed 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku last year, largely due to a scintillating performance by Chelsea's wide forward Eden Hazard who has since moved to Real Madrid, when the two sides were managed by Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri respectively.
However, Arteta, who took over from Emery in December, was confident Saturday’s clash will have a different outcome.
“A year in football is a different life,” Arteta said in a virtual news conference on Friday. “Even two weeks or three days later you can see a team performing one way then they can be a different team so there is not many things to take from that.”
The Spaniard acknowledged the gulf in class between the two sides as Frank Lampard’s Chelsea finished 10 points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League.
However, Arteta insisted Arsenal would not be overawed by the occasion as they chase a record-extending 14th FA Cup triumph.
At 17, Emi Martínez was approached by Arsenal. His family were struggling financially, so he made the move to England on his own. He claims that he did it for them.— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) July 31, 2020
Tomorrow, after 10 years at the club, the Argentine is set to start in the FA Cup final. Nobody deserves it more. pic.twitter.com/crerEOs3YI
“I always say that the league table doesn’t lie too much. You can look at some decisions, even in the games that we played together, where we could have the gap a little bit smaller,” he said.
“...Our only aim and all our energy is going to be on winning that trophy, it doesn’t matter where we start. They are playing at a really good level but we are going to go for it.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continues to be linked with a move away from the Emirates but Arteta believes lifting the Cup could convince the Gabon striker to commit his future to the north London club.
“I don’t have that fear,” Arteta said when asked if Saturday’s game could be Aubameyang’s last in an Arsenal shirt. “You need a lot of ingredients on the table to persuade a player of his level to be at this club.
“He still has a contract here. We wanted to keep him and do it in a more long-term way but at the moment he’s with us... Winning the trophy helps to believe. If you wear the armband and lift that cup, that will help.”
Lampard wants to win the final
Chelsea’s influential duo N’Golo Kante and Willian have recovered from injuries and are back in contention for Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal, manager Frank Lampard said as he looks to win his first trophy as a manager.
Kante has missed Chelsea’s last six matches in all competitions due to a hamstring injury while Willian sat out their crucial Premier League win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that ensured the club qualified for the Champions League.
“Kante and Willian are in the squad and we will see if they are fit enough to be involved in the starting 11,” said Lampard
The result arguably means more to Arsenal, who need to win to qualify for the Europa League, but Lampard said Chelsea would not take their foot off the gas having already sealed Champions League qualification.
“We have to make sure we are not negatively affected by having qualified for the Champions League,” added Lampard, who won the FA Cup four times as a player.
“It doesn’t affect preparations, we still want to win it. A trophy like this stays with you for life and you’re quickly forgotten if you’re a losing finalist.
“If you get to a final you want to win it. It will be difficult, many a great manager haven’t won things but now we are here, I want to win it.”
Lampard will be pitted against another young manager in Mikel Arteta — whose Arsenal side beat Manchester City to reach the final — and the Chelsea boss said he was impressed with what the Spaniard had achieved in a short time.
(inputs from agencies, photo Getty Images)