Hector Bellerin and Bukayo Saka are expected to return to the starting lineup when Arsenal take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
Arsenal will be eager to win a record-extending 14th FA Cup title and qualify for next season’s UEFA Europa League when they lock horns with Chelsea in the final at Wembley on Saturday. Ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta has been given a boost, with one first-team player available again.
Hector Bellerin was rested in Arsenal’s final Premier League game of the season, against Watford, last weekend. As per the official team news, the Spaniard was left out as a precaution due to some tightness in his right calf. Bellerin, though, is back at Arteta’s disposal and is expected to feature in the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
However, the likes of Pablo Mari (ankle), Shkodran Mustafi (hamstring) and Gabriel Martinelli (knee) are still on the sidelines. Bernd Leno and Calum Chambers have both resumed training in some capacity, but are still a long way off full fitness and will only return when the 2020/21 season begins.
📖 This is why this year’s FA Cup final means so much to @EmiMartinezz1 ❤️
👇 (THREAD) pic.twitter.com/Hychf7PHrN
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 31, 2020
With Leno still unavailable, Emiliano Martinez, who has been brilliant in the absence of Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeeper, will play an emotional FA Cup final. In front of him, the Gunners are likely to revert to a 3-4-3 formation against Chelsea, with Arteta banking on the system that worked well in the semi-final versus Manchester City.
The three-man central defensive unit should feature ex-Chelsea defender David Luiz as the sweeper in addition to Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney as the other centre-backs. During his pre-match press conference, Arteta was asked to comment about what it would be like for Luiz to play against former club Chelsea in a cup final.
The Arsenal boss said, “It is always good connections when these moments arrive. In the case of David, it is such a special day for him to play against his former club and hopefully he can do a performance like he did against City in the semi final.”
Up ahead in midfield, Arteta should stick with the combination that has worked so well in the past month, with Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka pairing up in the double pivot once again. As for the two wing-backs, the fully fit Bellerin should feature on the right flank, while Bukayo Saka, who was given a breather against Watford, will likely line up on the left wing.
Finally, in attack, the three players pick themselves, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe expected to start. Pepe and Arsenal captain Aubameyang, who was top class last time out against Watford, will be the two wide men, while Lacazette will spearhead the Gunners’ attack against Chelsea. Eddie Nketiah will be an option on the bench.
Arsenal Predicted XI: Martinez; Holding, Luiz, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Saka; Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang