2021-22 FA Cup Final Preview – Sport Grill

2021-22 FA Cup Final Preview – Sport Grill

Match preview for a blockbuster 2021-22 FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool at Wembley Stadium.

Victory would see Chelsea clinch a ninth FA Cup title and first since 2018, whilst Liverpool will move level on eight FA Cup titles with Chelsea if they clinch a first FA Cup honour under Jurgen Klopp’s reign.

 

Team News

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Mateo Kovacic is a doubt for Chelsea after suffering a recurrence of a recent ankle injury in Wednesday’s Premier League win at Leeds United.

N’Golo Kante (fitness) is also a doubt but Callum Hudson-Odoi (Achilles) and Ben Chilwell (knee) both remain absent.

Liverpool will be without Fabinho after the Brazilian suffered a hamstring strain in Tuesday’s Premier League comeback victory at Aston Villa.

 

Route to Final

Chelsea

Round Opposition Venue Result
3 Chesterfield Home 5-1
4 Plymouth Home 2-1 (AET)
5 Luton Away 2-3
Quarter-Final Middlesbrough Away 0-2
Semi-Final Crystal Palace Neutral 2-0

Chelsea began their campaign in the Third Round with a dominant 5-1 victory at home against National League’s Chesterfield, before goals from Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso completed a comeback 2-1 win over Plymouth in the Fourth Round after needing extra-time.

Romelu Lukaku then struck a 78th minute winner as Thomas Tuchel’s Blues twice survived huge scares to prevail 3-2 in a five-goal Fifth Round thriller at Luton.

First-half goals from Lukaku and Hakim Ziyech saw Chelsea defeat Middlesbrough in the Quarter-Finals, before Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount netted in a 2-0 semi-final win over Crystal Palace to secure a place in the Final.

 

Liverpool

Round Opposition Venue Result
3 Shrewsbury Home 4-1
4 Cardiff Home 3-1
5 Norwich Home 2-1
Quarter-Final Nottingham Forest Away 0-1
Semi-Final Manchester City Neutral 2-3

Fabinho’s brace fired Liverpool to a 4-1 home victory over Shrewsbury in the Third Round which set up an eventual 3-1 Fourth Round win over Cardiff, in which Harvey Elliott scored their third goal on his return from an ankle injury.

Takumi Minamino who netted the Reds’ second goal against Cardiff went on to score twice in a 2-1 win over Norwich in the Fifth Round.

Diogo Jota struck a late winner as Liverpool scraped past Nottingham Forest in a tense Quarter-Final clash to set up a tough semi-final against Manchester City, which Jurgen Klopp’s Reds comfortably overcame 3-2 through Sadio Mane’s first-half brace amidst a City fightback.

 

Stat Attack

  • Chelsea won their only previous FA Cup Final meeting against Liverpool in 2011-12 season, as the Blues prevailed 2-1 through goals from Ramires and Didier Drogba.
  • Liverpool have won just four of 11 previous FA Cup meetings against Chelsea (W4, L7), during which none of those 11 previous clashes have gone beyond 90 minutes.
  • This is the fourth FA Cup Final this century to be contested by clubs whose managers hail from the same country, whilst marking the first FA Cup Final between two German managers.
  • Chelsea are the second team to appear in three consecutive FA Cup Finals this century after Arsenal reached the Final between 2001-03, of which the Gunners’ only defeat was against Liverpool in 2001.
  • Takumi Minamino has scored three goals in four FA Cup appearances this season for Liverpool.

 

Prediction

Having dominated Leeds in midweek, Chelsea certainly come into this match with a high level of confidence despite their recent inconsistent form since returning from the international break.

Thomas Tuchel’s Blues though have been here three times in the last four seasons which all ended in heartbreak – just like February’s League Cup Final against Liverpool, so there will be a physiological edge to battle as well as the actual match but they should believe if play like they did at Leeds.

Liverpool meanwhile are a dangerous team when able to impose their tough press on opponents but their defence does have cracks, which was quickly exposed at Villa on Tuesday evening yet they quickly regrouped to come back and snatch a clinical win.

This season though is the furthest that Liverpool have ventured in the FA Cup under Klopp and with the quadruple still a possibility, it is incredibly hard to not see Liverpool coming here as favourites especially after a clinical pressing display against Man City in last month’s semi-final.

With that in mind and Chelsea’s attacking quality, I do expect a competitive showdown but unless Tuchel can mastermind a Chelsea masterclass performance, I expect Liverpool to just have the upper hand given their extra day’s rest and overall quality.

Prediction: Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool