Matt Holt and Paul King go head-to-head for Emirates FA Cup Final
The Emirates FA Cup Final takes centre stage this weekend with Chelsea and Arsenal set for a heavyweight clash at Wembley Stadium.
The Blues are aiming to do the Double while the Gunners can become the outright most successful team in this famous competition’s history.
But away from the plotlines, what are the best bets to be had ahead of kick-off?
Once again we’ve enlisted the services of top Twitter tipsters Matt Holt and Paul King to help you decide where to place your hard-earned cash.
They’ve picked their way through our specials and this is what they’ve come up with…
MATT HOLT (@MattHoltTips)
Both Teams to Score, 12+ Corners and Any Englishman to Score – 6/1
The FA Cup is one of the most prestigious cup competitions in the world, and both sides will be well up for this one.
FA Cup specialists Arsenal have the chance to win their third final in four years, while Chelsea could become the first team since themselves in 2010 to win the League/FA Cup double.
Both sides scored when the two met at Stamford Bridge in February and I expect them to do so again here. Arsenal haven’t failed to score at the new Wembley in all nine of their appearances there since 2009, while Chelsea have scored in 14 of their 15 appearances under the arch. Both teams have bagged in the Blues’ last four and four of Arsenal’s five FA Cup games there.
The two sides also average an impressive amount of corners per game, – fourth and fifth respectively in the Premier League for most corners won per game – and I expect that to be accentuated by the wide Wembley pitch.
The League One Play-Off final between Millwall and Bradford last weekend featured an impressive 19 corners while there were 25 in the two FA Cup semi-finals.
An Englishman to score is an interesting one for me here, and I’ll be relying largely on Arsenal’s Englishmen to do the business for me. Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Rob Holding all have the potential for goals, whilst Gary Cahill’s tally of eight goals this season is nothing to be sniffed at.
Either team to win in Extra Time and a Substitute to score at any time in 120 mins – 16/1
Given the grandeur of this occasion, it would be no surprise to see this game end as a draw. If it does, I could imagine a super-sub could go on and win his team the game.
Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud have a habit of popping up with very late goals and this could be no different. The Belgian striker has nine goals for the Premier League Champions this season – scoring four goals in seven cup appearances this season.
He has also scored four times in his last three games and that rich vein of form could see him become a Chelsea hero with an FA Cup final goal.
Olivier Giroud, on the other hand, has scored nine of his 15 goals this season AFTER the 75th minute. The Frenchman loves a late goal and it would be no surprise to see him get one here to salvage something for Arsenal.
Sanchez and Hazard to score, Costa and Xhaka to be carded – 25/1
With 40 Premier League goals between them, Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard have been absolutely electric for their clubs this season. The duo are both in the midst of, arguably, their best goalscoring seasons and it would be no surprise to see them both pop up with goals in the final.
Both players scored the winners for their respective sides in the semi-finals, whilst Alexis is in a right vein of form too – scoring five in his last four games. Hazard also has six in his last 10, and I think both will make good use of the vast Wembley pitch.
Diego Costa has earned 10 bookings in the Premier League this season, the seventh-highest total in the division and more than any other striker this season. The Spaniard has a habit of being petulant and getting himself into trouble with referees.
Another player that gets himself into unnecessary trouble is Granit Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder was sent off twice in his first Premier League season. If he starts I can see the pair becoming a nuisance for each other and at 25/1, this looks a solid bet.
PAUL KING (@PaulKingTips)
Over 2.5 goals, 10+ corners, 50+ booking points – 3/1
FA Cup finals generally don’t see too many goals, with 43 of them throughout history being decided by a scoreline of 1-0. However, recent matches between Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte’s men have been full of action.
Two of their last three meetings have featured over 2.5 goals so, considering the value being offered, I fancy a punt against the idea of a low-scoring final.
As for the corners and cards, this is really just a feeling of mine. I can see the Chelsea wingers and wing-backs breaking forward regularly and racking up a decent number of corners, so assuming Arsenal get three or four too, 10+ should sail in.
Either team to win to nil, a red card shown, a penalty awarded – 22/1
Of the last five meetings between Chelsea and Arsenal only one was wasn’t won to nil, with Arsenal winning 3-0 and 1-0, and Chelsea responding with 2-0 and 1-0 wins. Chelsea’s 3-1 win in February was the only game that broke that trend.
There’s a history of red cards in this tie recently with two being dished out in the last four meetings, as well as 15 yellow cards. It’s clear from the stats that this is a game where the players like to get stuck into each other.
Chelsea have already had two penalties in this tournament so far and in a game of the FA Cup final’s magnitude, controversy is rarely far away. We wouldn’t bet against a pen being awarded on Saturday afternoon.
Sanchez and Costa both to score and both to be carded – 28/1
I really like the look of this one. Diego Costa has been sublime form for The Blues this season, netting 21 times across all competions.
Alexis Sanchez has been in similarly scintillating form for the Gunners having bagged 26 goals this season, including two in their run to the FA Cup final.
Neither are strangers to a booking either, with Sanchez picking up eight yellows this season and Costa collecting a whopping 11 cautions.
With the stakes high and emotions flaring, in what is potentially both players’ last game for their respective club, don’t be surprised to see some kind of fireworks from one – or both – of these forwards.
Like the look of these selections?
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing