The route to an empty Wembley Stadium for FA Cup finalists Arsenal and Chelsea
The delayed 2020 FA Cup final takes place behind closed doors on Saturday as Arsenal face Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium.
With the most final wins in the history of the tournament, Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal bid for a 14th title, with rivals Chelsea on the hunt for a ninth victory.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at both London clubs and their route to Saturday’s FA Cup climax.
Introduced to the competition as the third round draw was held, Arsenal began their cup campaign against leading Championship side Leeds. A 55th-minute Reiss Nelson goal was enough to secure victory at the Emirates Stadium and saw the Gunners progress to face Bournemouth away in the fourth round of the tournament.
Eighteen-year-old Bukayo Saka handed his side the advantage after five minutes of play at Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium, with Eddie Nketiah doubling the margin 21 minutes later. Sam Surridge did provide an injury-time goal for the Cherries but it was not enough to save them from defeat and therefore Arsenal earned their place in the fifth round.
After facing a Premier League side in Bournemouth and a Championship side who have since been promoted in the shape of Leeds, Arteta’s squad were then drawn against League One Portsmouth. Heading to Fratton Park in front of an away crowd, Greek centre-back Sokratis gave the Gunners the lead before the half time whistle, after which Nketiah sealed the 2-0 triumph and secured his club’s spot in the quarter-final.
Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United were Arsenal’s next rivals, with the game held behind closed doors at Bramall Lane. A 25th-minute penalty was duly scored by Nicolas Pepe to give the Gunners the lead before the Blades’ David McGoldrick produced an equaliser in the 87th minute to throw Sheffield United a lifeline. His effort was cancelled out minutes later, however, when Dani Ceballos scored the winning goal in injury time.
Arsenal then had to outclass holders Manchester City in the semi-final of the competition, with the game held at an empty Wembley Stadium. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ensured the club progressed to their 21st FA Cup final when scoring both goals in a 2-0 victory, finding the back of the net in both the 19th and 71st minutes.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea also entered the competition in the third round, facing a competitive Nottingham Forest side at home to kick off their campaign. A sixth-minute goal from Callum Hudson-Odoi and a 33rd-minute Ross Barkley strike settled their first FA Cup encounter of the season and the 2-0 victory saw them progress to the fourth round.
A trip to Hull to face Grant McCann’s Championship side followed, with another early goal setting the tone for the Blues. This time Michy Batshuayi was responsible, with Fikayo Tomori also scoring in the 64th minute before Kamil Grosicki scored a late consolation for the hosts.
The third round saw Chelsea take on runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool, with the fixture held at Stamford Bridge. Both Willian and Barkley scored for the home side and with Liverpool unable to respond, Lampard’s side secured a 2-0 victory and a place in the quarter-final.
Chelsea faced Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester for their next encounter. Playing without fans at the Foxes’ King Power Stadium, Barkley scored the only goal of the contest in the 64th minute to secure his club’s place in the semi-final.
Manchester United were Chelsea’s semi-final rivals as the two teams met at an empty Wembley Stadium. Olivier Giroud gave the Blues a first-half lead, with Mason Mount then doubling the margin just after the resumption of play. A Harry Maguire own goal in the 74th minute then extended the Blues’ lead to 3-0, meaning Bruno Fernandes’ 85th-minute penalty could not salvage the game for United and Chelsea took the spot in the final.