The 136th FA Cup Final, the world’s oldest football cup competition, takes place between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Saturday (5.30).
It’s been a season of contrasts for these London rivals, with Chelsea taking Premier League honours under new boss Antonio Conte and Arsenal finishing fifth, the first time they’ve failed to reach the top four since the 1995-96 season.
FA Cup Final | Arsenal v Chelsea 27 May 17:30
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has blamed uncertainty surrounding his future as the reason for his side’s below-par campaign and an FA Cup win would hardly make up for the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Champions League.
The loss of centre-back Laurent Koscielny, suspended after being sent off in the 3-1 Premier League win over Everton last week, is a huge blow and star striker Alexis Sanchez is undergoing intensive treatment for a hamstring injury after limping off in the same match.
Sanchez netted the opener in his side’s 3-0 thrashing of Chelsea at the Emirates back in September but Conte has transformed his team by the time they met at Stamford Bridge in early February as the Blues strolled to a comfortable 3-1 success.
Chelsea’s 4-2 semi-final victory over Spurs was a classic encounter and, while the final is unlikely to live up to the same standards, it should still be an exciting affair with the champions taken to edge it 2-1.
Eden Hazard, who came off the bench to score the decisive goal on that semi-final encounter, is the first goal scorer suggestion.
Chelsea to win in 90 minutes (18/25)
Correct score: Arsenal 1 v Chelsea 2 (15/2)
First goal scorer: Hazard (21/4)
Sanchez to score first goal 8/1
Pedro to score first goal 9/1
Scottish Cup Final | Aberdeen v Celtic 15:00
Scottish Premiership champions Celtic, seeking a domestic treble, face league runners-up Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup Final at Hampden Park on Saturday.
The teams met in the Scottish League Cup final back in November, a game Celtic won 3-0 thanks to goals from Rogic, Forrest and Dembele.
Celtic have also dominated the Dons in the Premiership this season, winning 4-1, 1-0, 1-0 and 3-1. Rogic will have been pleased to see them edge past Hibs in their semi-final, as he also scored against them in the first two of those four clashes.
The champions were quick out of the traps when overcoming Rangers 2-0 in their semi-final and have only conceded once – when coming from behind to beat St Mirren 4-1 at the quarter-final stage – on their way to Hampden.
This is only their second final appearance in the past six seasons but they’ve emerged victorious in all five since losing 3-2 to Rangers in 2002, conceding just one goal.
With Celtic wrapping up the title well before the end of the season, Aberdeen provided some much-needed interest when getting the better of Rangers in the hard-fought battle for second place.
A 6-0 away defeat of Partick last weekend will have boosted confidence ahead of Saturday’s showpiece, a result that saw them reach their highest ever points tally of 76, albeit some 30 points behind Celtic.
Teenager Ryan Christie, on-loan from Celtic, scored twice in that game but is likely to start on the bench.
This is Aberdeen’s first Scottish Cup Final appearance since a 4-0 thrashing by Rangers in 1990-2000 season and, though these things don’t always go to form – last year’s final which saw Hibs score an injury-time winner to beat Rangers 3-2 is a good recent example – they will need to raise their game to a new level if they are to prevail.
A Celtic win is the obvious call, with 3-0 the predicted score. Given his good record against the Dons this season, perhaps Tom Rogic is worth chancing in the first goal scorer market.
Celtic to win in 90 minutes (11/20)
Correct Score: Aberdeen 0 v Celtic 3 (12/1)
First goal scorer: Tom Rogic (15/2)
Leigh Griffiths to score first goal 7/2
Adam Rooney to score first goal 8/1
Celtic, Chelsea and Juventus to win in regular time 5/1