Martin Keown on where the FA Cup final between Arsenal and Chelsea will be won and lost

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Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday night.

Sportsmail columnist Martin is expecting a close encounter and explains where the match will be won and lost. 

Stop the press

Arsenal opened the scoring in their semi-final by beating Manchester City’s press and going from back to front.

The move consisted of 18 passes and involved 10 players before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted Nicolas Pepe’s cross. It was a great team goal — but a word of caution. 

No Premier League team played a higher percentage of passes in their own half than Arsenal and that can be dangerous.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang capped off a stunning team goal in the semi-final against City

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang capped off a stunning team goal in the semi-final against City

Chelsea were brilliant at winning the ball high up the pitch against Manchester United

Chelsea were brilliant at winning the ball high up the pitch against Manchester United

Liverpool like to win the ball back high up the pitch, then attack and Chelsea did that exceptionally well against Manchester United in their semi-final. 

Frank Lampard will want a repeat against Arsenal. Mikel Arteta’s players have to make good decisions when they have the ball — better than they’ve been making in the Premier League. 

Only Norwich suffered more turnovers close to their own goal than Arsenal. That’s largely why my former club faced the fifth-highest number of shots in the league. But that opening goal against City can give them confidence.

Auba and out?

Dare I say today might be the last we see of Aubameyang in an Arsenal shirt? I hope not but it is possible. 

The 31-year-old inside forward, who has yet to agree a contract extension, will take up his usual position on the left. 

I have compared Aubameyang to Thierry Henry and that’s the biggest compliment I can give him — he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to my old team-mate. But what Henry also did was win us trophies.

He was so driven and completely consumed by Arsenal that he dragged us to success. That’s what Aubameyang should want to do today. 

He is entirely capable of it. He is a great goalscorer but has been a runner-up in the League Cup and Europa League with Arsenal and won’t want to make it a hat-trick.

Aubameyang reminds me of Thierry Henry but can he win trophies for Arsenal like he did?

Aubameyang reminds me of Thierry Henry but can he win trophies for Arsenal like he did?

Keep Giroud grounded

Today will see Olivier Giroud against David Luiz — the former Arsenal striker against the former Chelsea defender. Giroud got the better of Victor Lindelof in the semi-final by getting in front of the United man to score from Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross. 

Arsenal cannot allow that to happen today. Only City and Liverpool produced more crosses in the Premier League in 2019-20 so Luiz and Co need to make sure they boss any aerial situations. 

Getting his head on the end of a cross was how Giroud opened the scoring against Arsenal in last year’s Europa League final.

Arsenal cannot allow Olivier Giroud to boss aerial situations at Wembley on Saturday

Arsenal cannot allow Olivier Giroud to boss aerial situations at Wembley on Saturday

David Luiz will have a big match up with Giroud and will need to keep him quiet for Arsenal

David Luiz will have a big match up with Giroud and will need to keep him quiet for Arsenal

Don’t tinker Mikel

Lampard will have done his homework and studied how Arteta went with four at the back against Watford on Sunday. 

One quirk of this saw Granit Xhaka drop into defence with Luiz and Rob Holding whenever left back Kieran Tierney moved down the wing. 

At times you couldn’t tell whether Xhaka was a defender or midfielder. This is clearly something Arteta wanted to try in their last match before the Cup final. 

But it created too much confusion and uncertainty and even though Arsenal took an early 3-0 lead, they didn’t look entirely comfortable and Watford almost got back into the game. 

Three at the back feels like a more settled set-up for Arsenal, especially as Luiz benefits from having defenders either side of him.

Mikel Arteta should resist any urges to tinker with his formation and keep three at the back

Mikel Arteta should resist any urges to tinker with his formation and keep three at the back

Lampard’s leaky Blues 

Look at the clubs who finished in the Premier League’s top four and how many goals they conceded. Liverpool: 33. Manchester City: 35. Manchester United: 36. Chelsea: 54. 

They clearly have frailties at the back. Lampard has been selective in his use of a back three — he tends to use it for a game or two then goes back to four. 

But I suspect he will stand by the 3-4-3 formation he fielded in the semi-final against United in which they pinned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s players back.

They forced the ball towards right wing back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, then shut down his options. It was a well-worked trap by Lampard. If Arsenal go 3-4-3, too, we are bound to see a good battle between two sets of wing backs.

Frank Lampard has had a great season but will be disappointed with how many they concede

Frank Lampard has had a great season but will be disappointed with how many they concede

Big calls for big game

Both Arteta and Lampard have big decisions to make. Ainsley Maitland-Niles started at left wing back in Arsenal’s semi- final with Tierney as a left-sided centre-back. 

Maitland-Niles shores you up defensively but if Arteta opts for 3-4-3 again, I’d prefer to see Bukayo Saka at left wing back, leaving Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Pepe as Arsenal’s front three.

I also expect Chelsea, who may see N’Golo Kante return, to play 3-4-3. Lampard might consider using Mason Mount in midfield. That way he gets to start Mount as well as Willian, Giroud and Christian Pulisic in attack.

Arteta has big calls to make and should consider playing Bukayo Saka at left back for this game

Arteta has big calls to make and should consider playing Bukayo Saka at left back for this game



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