Arsenal and Chelsea meet in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday night.
Sportsmail columnist Martin expects a close encounter and explains where the match will be won and lost.
Stop the press
Arsenal opened the scoring in the semi-final by beating Manchester City press and moving 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 caveat.
No Premier League side have played a higher passing percentage in their own half than Arsenal and that can be dangerous.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang capped a superb semi-final team goal against City
Chelsea were brilliant to win the ball at the top of the pitch against Manchester United
Liverpool love to grab the ball high up the pitch and then attack and Chelsea did it exceptionally well against Manchester United in the 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 did in the Premier League.
Only Norwich suffered more turnovers near their goal than Arsenal. That’s a big part of why my former club faced the fifth most shots in the league. But this first goal against City can give them confidence.
Auba and outside?
Dare I say that today could be the last we see from Aubameyang in an Arsenal jersey? I hope not, but it is possible.
The 31-year-old inside striker, who has yet to agree to a contract extension, will return to his usual position on the left.
I’ve compared Aubameyang to Thierry Henry and that’s the biggest compliment I can give him – it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to my former teammate. But what Henry also did was win us trophies.
He was so motivated and completely devoured by Arsenal that he led us to success. That’s what Aubameyang should want to do today.
He is quite capable of it. He’s a great goalscorer but was a League Cup and Europa League finalist 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?
Keep Giroud anchored
Today will see Olivier Giroud v David Luiz – the former Arsenal striker against the former Chelsea defender. Giroud got the better of Victor Lindelof in the semifinals, putting himself in front of United to score on Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross.
Arsenal cannot allow this to happen today. Only City and Liverpool have produced more Premier League crosses in 2019-20, so Luiz and Co need to make sure they lead all aerial situations.
Getting his header 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 lead aerial situations at Wembley on Saturday
David Luiz will have a big game with Giroud and will have to keep him silent for Arsenal
Don’t tinker with Mikel
Lampard will have done his homework and studied how Arteta went with four at the back against Watford on Sunday.
A quirk of this saw Granit Xhaka fall in defense with Luiz and Rob Holding whenever left-back Kieran Tierney came down the wing.
Sometimes you couldn’t tell if Xhaka was a defender or a midfielder. This is clearly something Arteta wanted to try in his last game before the Cup final.
But it created too much confusion and uncertainty and even though Arsenal took a 3-0 lead early on, they didn’t look entirely comfortable and Watford almost came back into the game.
Three at the back looks like a more stable setup for Arsenal, especially as Luiz takes advantage of having defenders on either side of him.
Mikel Arteta should resist any urge to tinker with his training and keep three in the back
The Leaking Blues of Lampard
Look at which clubs have finished in the Premier League top four and how many goals they have conceded. Liverpool: 33. Manchester City: 35. Manchester United: 36. Chelsea: 54.
They clearly have weaknesses in the back. Lampard has been selective in his use of a back three – he tends to use it for a game or two and then rolls back to four.
But I suspect he will maintain the 3-4-3 lineup he fielded in the semi-final against United in which they pinned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s players.
They forced the ball to right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, then closed his options. It was a well-crafted trap from Lampard. If Arsenal also go 3-4-3, we’re definitely going to see a good battle between two pairs of full-backs.
Frank Lampard has had a great season but will be disappointed with the number of concessions
Big calls for big game
Arteta and Lampard have big decisions to make. Ainsley Maitland-Niles started on the left wing in Arsenal’s semi-final with Tierney as left center-back.
Maitland-Niles is backing you defensively, but if Arteta opts for 3-4-3 again, I’d rather see Bukayo Saka left-back, leaving Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Pepe as Arsenal’s three forward.
I also expect Chelsea, who may see N’Golo Kante return, to play 3-4-3. Lampard could consider using Mason Mount in midfield. This way he can throw Mount as well as Willian, Giroud and Christian Pulisic on offense.
Arteta has big calls to make and should consider playing Bukayo Saka at left-back for this game