Next weekend sees the final of the oldest club football competition in the world take place as the 137th FA Cup Final takes place at Wembley. What started out with 737 teams has come down to a fixture between two of the ‘big guns’ as Chelsea take on Manchester United.
Almost 90,000 fans will pack into Wembley next Saturday for the showpiece tournament that started way back on August 5th last year, and has involved 146 matches and produced 426 goals.
United’s route to the final has been fairly straight forward, overcoming Derby, Yeovil, Huddersfield, Brighton, and then Spurs in the Semi-Final all within 90 mins, whereas the Blues required a reply and penalties to overcome Norwich in the 3rd Round, then Newcastle, Hull, and Leicester with the latter of which requiring extra tine, before seeing off Southampton in the Semi’s.
This will prove the final opportunity for both teams to win some silverware in the 2017/18 season, which has been dominated by Manchester City domestically, with Liverpool reaching the final of the European Champions League they both featured in.
The teams have been in a combined total of 31 FA Cup Finals, with United winning 12 of their 19 appearances, and Chelsea 7 of their 12. Of these appearances they have met twice before in the FA Cup Final, winning one each; Manchester United 4-0 in the ’94 final, and more recently Chelsea 1-0 in the ’07 final in which Chelsea were managed by now Man Utd manager Jose Mourinho.
The Man Utd team also boasts 3 players who may well be lining up against their former team in the form of Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, and Romelu Lukaku.
This season we have seen the use of VAR (Video Assistant Refereeing) where applicable, and it will also be available in the Final itself which will be a first.
Also, a first will be the use of a fourth substitute should the game go to extra time.
The match will also serve as a platform for tributes to be paid to former England captain Ray Wilkins who passed away last month and played almost 200 games for both clubs.
You can watch the final live at 5:15 pm on May 27th on BBC 1 and BT Sport.
For any further information please head on over the FA’s website here and Wembley Stadium’s here.