Chelsea and Liverpool may have had what many would call disappointing league campaigns, but either team have a golden opportunity to end the season-long woes on a high; in no other venue than the Wembley Stadium. And considering that what is at stake is the United Kingdom’s oldest and most respected football trophy – the FA Cup – loads of fireworks would definitely network the terrain.
The showdown, which will be the first meeting between the two teams in the history of the FA Cup final, has been dubbed the clash of titans. Both Liverpool and Chelsea have met nine times in the FA Cup, including two semi-finals, but have never met in the finals. Chelsea had the upper hand in those nine meetings, winning five times to Liverpool’s four.
Chelsea is currently at the peak of their game, playing the way its fans want and feeling excited, winning the FA Cup trophy would not be out of the realm of possibility.
Chelsea got to this chance at some silverware by outscoring opponents 18-3 (with three clean sheets) in its six FA Cup matches, while Liverpool outscored its opposition 17-5, allowing one goal in each of its five games.
To reach the final, Liverpool ousted Everton, 2-1 in the semi-final, while Chelsea in a London derby, crushed Tottenham Spurs 5-1 to book a place in this afternoon showdown at Wembley Stadium.
The Carling Cup Champion will be without the services of the injured Charlie Adam, who tore knee ligaments at Queens Park Rangers in March. But with captain Steven Gerrard cleared to play and star striker, Andy Carroll, Dirk Kuyt, Glenn Johnson, Bellamy, goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Luis Suárez—who is coming off a hat trick Sunday against Norwich, Liverpool certainly has enough talents to win their second trophy of the season.
For the Blues, the last two weeks of following Roman Abramovich’s investment has been delighting one. The resolve and resilience displayed by the boys at Stamford Bridge under interim coach, Roberto Di Matteo is a semblance of the character of the squad showed during Jose Mourinho’s era at the London club.
Since the Italian took over the Blues, they have bounced back to their best and bringing a trophy to Stamford Bridge could see him land the job on a permanent basis, especially the ultimate trophy on sight, UEFA Champion League, a trophy that has eluded the likes of Mourinho,Ancellotti, Hiddink and Scolari at Chelsea and a holy grail for Abramovic.
Liverpool and Chelsea were due to play one another in the Premier League at Anfield this weekend before the FA decided to shift the league game to Tuesday, May 8, meaning that the two sides will play each other again three days later.
This is the second consecutive year that the FA Cup final has featured two teams scheduled to play each other in the league on the same weekend as the final, after Manchester City’s meeting with Stoke City last season.
Liverpool has already won the Carling Cup and will be looking to add the FA Cup to their list today. Early this season Liverpool overcame Chelsea 2-1 when the two teams met in the league at Stamford Bridge with a late goal by Glen Johnson sealing the victory for Kenny Daiglish side. Nine days later, Liverpool was also victorious in the same venue, this time winning 2-0 to knock Chelsea out of the League Cup which they eventually emerged champion.
FA Cup Facts and Statistics
• Three clubs have won consecutive FA Cups on more than one occasion: Wanderers (1872, 1873 and 1876, 1877, 1878), Blackburn Rovers (1884, 1885, 1886 and 1890, 1891), and Tottenham Hotspur (1961, 1962 and 1981, 1982).
• Seven clubs have won the FA Cup as part of a League and Cup double, namely Preston North End (1889), Aston Villa (1897), Tottenham Hotspur (1961), Arsenal (1971, 1998, 2002), Liverpool (1986), Manchester United (1994, 1996, 1999) and Chelsea (2010). Arsenal and Manchester United share the record of three doubles. Arsenal have won a double in each of three separate decades (1970s, 1990s, 2000s). Manchester United’s three doubles in the 1990s highlights their dominance of English football at the time.
• In 1993, Arsenal became the first side to win both the FA Cup and League Cup in the same season, beating Sheffield Wednesday 2–1, in both finals. Liverpool repeated this feat in 2001, as did Chelsea in 2007.
• In 1998–99, Manchester United added the 1999 Champions League crown to their double, an accomplishment known as The European treble. Two years later, in 2000–01, Liverpool won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup to complete a cup treble.
Portsmouth have the unusual accolade of holding the FA Cup for the longest unbroken period of time; having won the Cup in 1939, the next final was not contested until 1946, due to the outbreak of the Second World War.
• The FA Cup has only been won by a non-English team once. Cardiff City achieved this in 1927 when they beat Arsenal in the final at Wembley. They had previously made it to the final only to lose to Sheffield United in 1925, and lost another final to Portsmouth in 2008.