This weekend sees Liverpool take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Both sides have had rather disappointing campaigns in the league; but could still end the season with two trophies.
Chelsea are bidding to win the FA Cup for the fourth time in six seasons. Chelsea rested the likes of Juan Mata, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba (pictured right) in their midweek defeat against Newcastle. This loss has left Roberto Di Matteo’s side four points adrift of the Magpies and fourth-placed Tottenham wit just two to play. Their hopes of Champions League qualification through the league now appear bleak and will look to secure a place by beating Bayern Munich in this years final on May 19th.
Di Matteo no stranger to Wembley
The Chelsea interim manager is no stranger to the FA Cup, having previously scored one of the fastest goals in FA Cup final history in the 1997 triumph against Middlesbrough, not forgetting the last ever FA Cup goal at Wembley before the old ground was demolished.
Chelsea strikers Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba have both been in good form of late, leaving the Blues boss with a selection dilemma. Torres hit a hat-trick against QPR last weekend and looks to be a different man to the one that was constantly lambasted by the media just months ago.
Having said this, Di Matteo is likely to call upon Drogba, often regarded as the man for the big occasion. The Ivorian has scored seven goals in seven Wembley outings in the FA Cup and League Cup so looks good value at 7/4 to score anytime with Ladbrokes. Chelsea are the favourites with the bookies, best-priced 8/11 with bet365.
The Reds on the other hand are a whopping 16 points adrift of the top four, 34 off the summit and more importantly, three points behind rivals Everton. Despite having already won the Carling this season after closely edging out Championship side Cardiff City on penalties, it’s their league form that has left a number of the Merseyside faithful disgruntled. It’s been a frustrating term for Kenny Dalglish’s men, reflected none more so than in their home form, drawing nine games at Anfield.
Cup double a success?
Languishing in eighth place with just two games to play, it’s been a mediocre season in the league for a club with Liverpool’s stature. They continued to disappoint on Tuesday when a side showing nine changes from the previous game lost 1-0 at home to Fulham, the first time Fulham had won a match there in 30 attempts, spanning 78 years. So, would lifting the FA Cup for the first time since 2006, coupling it with the League Cup mark this campaign as a success?
Kenny Dalglish thinks so. He recently claimed that some managers have become ‘obsessed’ with their league placing because of the financial rewards that qualifying for the Champions League brings. He seems more focused on bringing in trophies, which has shown through his team selection in league games. It’s evident that the domestic cups have been prioritised. Liverpool have no fresh injury worries going into the game, but remain with long term absentees Lucas and Charlie Adam. Liverpool are priced at 5/4 with William Hill to beat Chelsea.