Chelsea FA Cup Final Team News: Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Chilwell
For only the second time ever, the same two sides (Chelsea and Liverpool) will contest both the League Cup and the FA Cup final in the same campaign. The previous occasion was 1992-93 when Arsenal beat Sheffield Wednesday in both finals. On Saturday, Liverpool will look to win both of England’s domestic cup competitions in the same season for the first time since 2000-01. Meanwhile Chelsea will try avoiding the fate of becoming the last team to lose both the League and FA Cup final in the same campaign since Middlesbrough in 1996-97.
This will be the fourth meeting of the season between Liverpool and Chelsea, with the other three matches all ending level, despite the Reds lifting the League Cup trophy via penalties in February. The last fixture between two English top-flight sides to see more draws in the same campaign was Arsenal v Chelsea in 2017-18 (4).
That’s enough stats and factoids for now, so without further ado, let’s preview!
FA Cup Final FYIs
Kick: 4:45pm GMT, Wembley Stadium, London
TV: None in US (sadly and inexplicably), streaming only on ESPN+
Team News: Chelsea Liverpool
Starting XI Predictions: Chelsea Liverpool
After Extra Time Podcast: Spotify Apple Pods
Odds: Chelsea 1/2 Liverpool 13/8
Blues Team News
Thomas Tuchel rested some of his key players, including Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz, in yesterday’s 3-0 rout of Leeds United, ahead of this match. However, Mateo Kovacic was forced off in the 24′ after a nasty challenge from Dan James, which saw the former United man red-carded. Kovsaid that he will be forced to rethink his team to face Liverpool if Kovacic fails to recover.
“I tell you not as a coach and not as an expert, but for me it is very unlikely,” Tuchel said. “It was a swollen ankle and he is in a lot of pain.
“For me, I am not a doctor and we need to wait for the examinations, but it is very unlikely he can play.
“It is absolutely bad news for us on a perfect evening.”
“If he misses it I’m very disappointed because he was a clear starter,” Tuchel said. “If you look at the quality today also with Jorgi [Jorginho] and him in central midfield when we played 11 against 11, it was a very strong start.
“He is a key figure for us in midfield. He played against Liverpool, I think both matches from the beginning and was very strong.
“He’s super, super hungry and determined and excited to play these matches and of course he is in fear he will miss it. We will see. We need to wait. Maybe we have a miracle and we make it possible.
“I did not see the challenge live. I just saw it from a distance on the iPad. I am not good at looking at these situations because it hurts me physically to watch it, but everybody told me it is a clear red card.”
The clock is ticking and I guess we’ll see who will get the call come Saturday.