FA Cup Final: Arsenal v Chelsea preview


FA Cup Final: Arsenal v Chelsea preview

Alexis Sanchez is expected to shake off a thigh injury in time for Arsenal's FA Cup final showdown with Chelsea at Wembley


Sanchez limped off against Everton last weekend but is likely to be passed fit to hand Arsene Wenger, who could win his third FA Cup in four seasons in what could be his last game in charge of the Gunners, a huge boost for the Wembley showdown.

Arsenal, who will make a record 20th FA Cup final appearance, will be looking to finish the season on a high note after missing out on Champions League qualification for the first time in 20 years.

The Gunners haven't lost any of their last five FA Cup finals since losing to Liverpool in 2001 and victory would see them claim their 13th FA Cup, moving them one ahead of Manchester United on 12.

Standing in their way though are the Premier League champions Chelsea, who are aiming to complete the league and FA Cup double.

Antonio Conte, who has a fully-fit squad to choose from, could become the fifth Italian manager to win the FA Cup, with three of the previous four achieving this at Chelsea (Vialli 2000, Ancelotti 2010, Mancini 2011 and Di Matteo 2012).

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also in contention for Arsenal after recovering from a hamstring strain.

Laurent Koscielny, however, is suspended and Gabriel will miss out with a knee injury, meaning Per Mertesacker could make his first start in almost 13 months. Late decisions will also be made on Kieran Gibbs, who has a thigh problem, and Shkodran Mustafi, who is struggling with illness.

Meanwhile, Conte must decide whether to start Pedro or Willian behind his chosen striker while Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic are battling for a place in central midfield.

John Terry is likely to be named on the substitutes' bench at Wembley for what will be the 36-year-old's final match before leaving Chelsea this summer.


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