FA Cup final tickets will be snapped up by Liverpool fans, who will travel to Wembley for the third time this season. The Reds have already tasted glory by winning the Carling Cup this term, beating Chelsea along the way to success. Despite progression in the cup competitions, the Merseyside club have been let down by poor league form, and currently sit in a disappointing eighth place in the standings.
The Anfield club have shown that on a one-off basis they can beat anyone in the league, with both Manchester clubs, Arsenal and Chelsea all being beaten at the hands of Kenny Dalglish’s side this term. However, worrying inconsistency against the so-called lesser sides has seen anger on the terraces and the dismissal of director of football Damien Comolli.
King Kenny is coming under increasing pressure from ambitious American owners Fenway Sports Group, and despite the Scot’s heroics on the field for the club, he is not exempt from criticism and possible questions over his position. A win in the final would complete a cup double and salvage Liverpool’s campaign; a defeat and the Kop faithful will not be satisfied with 2011/12.
Chelsea have undergone a major upheaval since the sacking of Andre Villas Boas, and now look like a more dangerous outfit under Roberto Di Matteo. The Blues put London neighbours Tottenham to the sword 5-1 in the semi-final, and with the club currently sitting in sixth in the Premier League, need a cup triumph to take attention away from a substandard league campaign.
The Stamford Bridge club will prioritise their Champions League final against Bayern Munich, but will also want domestic glory. The FA Cup could well be the reason to keep Di Matteo on as the club’s manager on a permanent basis, and could be the last hurrah for some of the club’s older heads such as Didier Drogba.
This should be a close game between two evenly-matched sides, with Chelsea entering the fixture as slight favourites due to their recent upsurge in form under RDM. The game has the ability to salvage some pride for either side, and could well play a major part in deciding the fate of both teams’ managers.
Published – EPL Talk