Blues v Reds. London v Manchester. Conte v Mourinho. Hazard v Pogba. Massive club without a trophy this season v Massive club without a trophy this season…
The Emirates FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Manchester United, Saturday 19 May, 4pm, BT Sport 2/HD (CH 532/528) and BBC One/HD (CH 101/108)
Clear your diary, gather your friends and block out any distractions, because this season’s Emirates FA Cup Final has all the makings of a classic. In the blue corner stand Chelsea – seven-time FA Cup winners, last season’s Premier League champions and undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in the world. In the red corner huddle Manchester United – 12-time FA Cup winners, last season’s UEFA Europa League champions and undoubtedly one of the biggest clubs in the world.
Both teams are footballing behemoths, both teams are jam-packed with footballing superstars, both teams are led by charismatic managers and both teams have a problem. If they don’t win on Saturday, they will end the season without a trophy.
Add to all this the glamour of the most famous domestic cup final in the world and you have a sumptuous footballing feast coming up, live on BT Sport 1 and BBC One.
Excited? You will be after we take you through the big questions in the build-up to Saturday’s massive clash…
Will José Mourinho become the third manager to win the FA Cup with two clubs?
Growing up in Lisbon, José Mourinho probably didn’t hear much about Billy Walker or Herbert Chapman. But if he guides Manchester United to FA Cup glory this Saturday, then the Portuguese coach will become just the third manager after Walker and Chapman to win the FA Cup with two different sides. Walker lifted the trophy with Sheffield Wednesday in 1935 and Nottingham Forest in 1959, while Chapman raised it with Huddersfield Town in 1922 and Arsenal in 1930. Mourinho secured his first win with Chelsea in 2007 – can he make history this year?
Can Conte end his cup hoodoo?
Antonio Conte is a brilliant manager, who has guided Juventus to three Serie A titles and Chelsea to a Premier League crown. So obviously, his trophy cabinet is packed with cup medals too. Or so you’d think. In fact, the Italian has never won a domestic or European cup competition. “Last season, we missed a great chance to win the FA Cup,” the Italian says of their 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the final. And this season? “I think we arrive not as favourites,” he admits.
Will Mr Wembley score again?
Keep a close eye on Alexis Sánchez this Saturday afternoon. The Chilean striker’s goal in his team’s Emirates FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham took his Wembley record to eight goals in eight appearances. “Wembley brings me good luck,” he said to MUTV. “The truth is that I score every time I play at Wembley.”
Giroud or Morata?
The good news for Olivier Giroud and Álvaro Morata is that they both scored in Chelsea’s FA Cup semi-final win over Southampton. The bad news for the Frenchman and the Spaniard is that Conte is unlikely to play them both in the Emirates FA Cup Final. So who should get the nod? At any other ground, it would be a tough decision. At Wembley, it has to be Giroud. “I was joking that Wembley is ‘my garden’,” laughs the Frenchman, who has won all ten of his club appearances at Wembley. “I’m unbeaten here and want this to carry on. It has been a tough season, but I want to finish strong.”
Who is going to win?
Talk about saving the biggest question for last. It’s practically impossible to split these sides, with honours being even in previous FA Cup Finals between the pair (United beat Chelsea in 1994, and the Blues paid them back in 2007), and both teams winning one of this season’s two Premier League contests. So instead of speculating wildly, we’re going to do what we implore everyone else to: turn the telly to BT Sport 1 or BBC One, sit back and watch all the drama unfold live.
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