Three years ago, Arsenal and Chelsea were involved in the FA Cup final, with the Gunners triumphing 2-1 for a record seventh crown.
Today, the attention of millions of football fans across the globe will be focused at the Wembley Stadium for another great contest between London rivals, Arsenal and Chelsea.
As usual, many Nigerian football fans, who are supporters of the two clubs are locked up in a ‘battle of jocularity’ baring their mind and laying claim to victory even before the game kicks off in London.
Victory for Arsenal will secure them a place in next season’s Europa League after placing 8th and missing out on qualification in the Premier League. Their fans are optimistic the Gunners will put everything into today’s FA Cup final.
“I see Arsenal beating Chelsea tomorrow (today) because there is no way my club will miss out in both the Champions League and Europa Cup competition next season,” a Gunners fan, who identified his name as Oke bragged on a radio sports programme in Lagos yesterday.
Oke continues: “We beat them (Chelsea) in previous FA Cup finals in 2002 and 2017, and we will do it again. It will end 2-1 for Arsenal.”
The Gunners are biding to win their 14th FA Cup.
But a Chelsea fan, Muyiwa, disagrees saying: “I see Arsenal fans crying like babies tomorrow (today). “This is 2020, and we won’t allow a repeat of that defeat in 2002 and 2017 this time. Chelsea is the landlord at Wembley Stadium, and we will conquer Arsenal again. The Blues will win 3-1.”
Some other Nigerian fans of the two London clubs also took their pre-match battle to the social media yesterday.
Unlike last year’s final between Manchester City and Watford, some of the fans feel today’s clash will be hard to call.
A crowdless Wembley Stadium might be an eerie experience, but the FA says it had done its best to ensure today’s final stands out as special.
Arsenal is undoubtedly improving under Mikel Arteta, who is bidding to follow George Graham in playing for and managing a Gunners cup-winning side.
On his part, Frank Lampard could be the third to do it for Chelsea (after Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Di Matteo), with the chance to put a trophy-winning seal on the first season in charge that has surpassed realistic expectations.
Arsenal has revealed their shirts, with the main sponsor, Emirates on the front, while the sleeves will have ‘Visit Rwanda’.
For Chelsea, the BLM, NHS and Heads Up badges have been moved to the back under the number. The Blues will also pay tribute to their own 1970 success in the competition with stitching underneath club crest. ‘Wembley 2020’ will be embroidered the same way it was for that game against Leeds United 50 years ago.
The match between Chelsea and Leeds was the first FA Cup final to require a replay since 1912.
The final result represented a historic first FA Cup win for Chelsea and led them to more silverware in the following season as they picked up the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
Arsenal has won both of their previous FA Cup finals against Chelsea: 2-0 in 2002 and 2-1 in 2017.
However, Chelsea has won their other two meetings in major finals, by 2-1 in the 2007 League Cup and 4-1 in last year’s Europa League showpiece.
Chelsea’s only win in their past nine FA Cup clashes with the Gunners was in the 2009 semi-final.