Chelsea seek double, Arsenal hunt redemption
LONDON, England (AP):
For Chelsea, it's a chance for a double. Arsenal are just looking for some redemption.
The London teams will meet today in the FA Cup final, with Chelsea hoping to win their second league-cup double since 2010 and Arsenal wanting to make up for missing out on the Champions League with a season-ending trophy at Wembley Stadium.
"It has been a great season," Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said. "To be a fantastic season, we have to win the FA Cup."
Chelsea, which will be making their seventh FA Cup final appearance since 2000, is favoured to win the trophy for the eighth time. But a win for Arsenal would set a record for the club and manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal have won the title 12 times, the same as Manchester United. Wenger has been at the helm for six of those triumphs, and one more would see the Frenchman on his own with seven wins, surpassing the six won by Aston Villa manager George Ramsay between 1887 and 1920.
It could also be Wenger's farewell. He is expected to announce soon whether he will stay on for next season.
Wenger has faced criticism after a season in which the team finished outside the top four of the Premier League for the first time in 20 years.
In keeping with brushing off questions about his future, Wenger said his only focus was today's final.
"What I want is to win the next game," Wenger said. "I love to win, and I want to do well for my club. I want to win the cup for my club, and that's all I care about. It's not about me, it's about us winning the trophy and giving absolutely everything to achieve it."
Arsenal's defensive crisis has given Wenger a major selection headache.
The absence of suspended central defender Laurent Koscielny is a huge blow. Gabriel is injured and Shkodran Mustafi is a doubt.
"It's absolutely unbelievable and unpredictable, and we have been hit hard in a position where we will need to be strong," Wenger said. "We'll have to find solutions, and hopefully, I will find the good solutions."
Wenger is likely to use 21-year-old Rob Holding, who has made a good impression in his first season since signing from Bolton last year.
• Preston North End (1889)
- Aston Villa (1897)
- Tottenham Hotspur (1961)
- Arsenal (1971, 1998, 2002)
- Liverpool (1986)
- Manchester United (1994, 1996, 1999)
- Chelsea (2010)