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Dublin: 6°C Sunday 17 January 2021


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Good afternoon! And welcome to our coverage of this year’s FA Cup final live from Wembley.

We’ll be bringing you all the action from the English capital as Manchester United attempt to equal Arsenal’s record of 13 FA Cup titles, while Chelsea try to claim their eighth.

It has been a disappointing season for both sets of teams contesting today’s showpiece finale.

Jose Mourinho’s side finished a dismal 19 points behind rivals Man City in the race for the title. Chelsea, meanwhile, as defending champions trailed Pep Guardiola’s side by a whopping 30 points.

Antonio Conte’s future at the club is uncertain. Failure to secure Champions League football for next season means even an FA Cup title success might not save his job at Stamford Bridge — if he even wants the job himself.

Man United’s shock Champions League exit at the quarter-final stage against Seville cast dark clouds over this season when combined with their failure to mount a proper title challenge.

That said, a second-placed finish combined with a cup could be enough to say it hasn’t been the disaster of a season many have deemed it this year.

There’s a little under an hour to go before we get underway!

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams are:

Chelsea: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger, Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Giroud.

Subs: Caballero, Barkley, Morata, Pedro, Zappacosta, Willian, Chalobah.

Man United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young, Herrera, Matic, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford, Sanchez.

Subs: Bailly, Mata, Lukaku, Martial, Romero, Darmian, McTominay.

A big talking point ahead of today’s final surrounds Antonio Conte, who has arrived at Wembley.

12 months ago he was on top of the world having claimed the Premier League in his debut campaign and was aiming to secure a double having made it to last year’s FA Cup final too.

Ever since, however, his side have disappointed and Conte’s future at the club remains very unclear. A win today would be a fine way to sign off, if he goes — two major trophies during two seasons at Chelsea.

That, on top of the chance to stick it to his counterpart today, Jose Mourinho. The pair have had words in the past and there is certainly no love lost between them. 

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final Source: Darren Walsh

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final

Right, with a little over half an hour to go before kick-off — how do we see this one going? Let us know below!

Poll Results:

Man United win (289)
Chelsea win (174)

The last time these side’s met in an FA Cup final was 11 years ago.

It was Jose Mourinho in charge of Chelsea back then in 2007, and Didier Drogba the man who scored the golden goal.

The Portuguese has 24 major honours to his name, but that success in 2007 was the only time he secured the FA Cup.

Source: England/YouTube

Just a handful of minutes to go now as both sets of teams prepare to make their way onto the pitch. John Motson is in place, too, as he prepares to hang up his microphone for the final time ahead of his retirement. What a legend.

Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final Source: Laurence Griffiths




A foul is committed by Ander Herrera on Marcos Alonso 25 yards out from goal. Cesc Fabregas takes command of the free but he curls it directly into the arms of David De Gea far too easily.


Not a chance to speak of after five minutes of play. A cagey enough opening spell as both sides try and suss one another out. David De Gea, surprisingly, seeing a lot of the ball at his feet as his defenders are happy to rely on the Spaniard to distribute the possession around.


A snappy break at pace on the counter for Man United sees N’Golo Kante forced to cynically foul Jesse Lingard to stop the attack before it gathers too much venom.

The resulting free-kick is swung into the danger zone, but is batted away by a Chelsea head just as quick.


A superb save from David de Gea denies Eden Hazard at his near post. The game’s first proper sight at goal but the Man United goalkeeper was equal to it. Many would argue the world’s best goalkeeper, and it really is hard to disagree.


A serious claim for a penalty now, as Tiemoue Bakayoko goes down inside the area.

It looked as though Nemanja Matic had clipped the Chelsea midfielder clumsily, however on second viewing it appears he tripped of his own accord.

The right decision by referee Michael Oliver sees no spot-kick given.



Alexis Sanchez dribbles menacingly towards the penalty area, but just when he looked like pulling the trigger was denied by a smartly-timed interception from Gary Cahill.

Chelsea looking sharp and focussed at the back — something that couldn’t be said during last weekend’s desperate defeat against Newcastle.

Antonio Conte admitted his side would have to shape up after that defeat at St James’ Park, and they are fitting that bill so far this afternoon.

Flag 20Mins

PENALTY! Phil Jones takes down Eden Hazard inside the area and Chelsea are awarded the spot-kick.


Hazard cooly and calmly slips the ball into the bottom righthand corner, sending David De Gea the wrong way. It was the Belgian who drew the foul for the spot-kick and he brilliantly dispatches it without any hesitation. It’s 1-0 Chelsea.



There are claims being made that Phil Jones should have been sent off for that challenge. There is no disputing it was mistimed and sloppy, while also denying a clear goalscoring opportunity for Hazard inside the box.

Referee Michael “he has a garbage bin for a heart…” Oliver was content to settle for a yellow, mind. Perhaps after sending Gianluigi Buffon off during that infamous Champions League semi-final last month he doesn’t want to become the centre of attention with another high-profile sending off here.

That said, it’s a completely irrelevant point. A sending off is a sending off, and on this occasion the referee deemed it not.


Jose Mourinho’s side have rallied here and are forcing a lot of pressure on Chelsea now. Paul Pogba takes advantage of a pocket of space 25 yards from goal and tries his luck with a stinging low drive. It just misses the target, as Thibaut Courtois scrambled to cover his angles.



Alexis Sanchez tries his luck from distance. This time it has a bit more height than Pogba’s effort, but it still flies too high and nicks over the crossbar. A decent spell for Man United here after going a goal behind.


Tiemoue Bakayoko is fouled by Sanchez at the other end and Chelsea have a free-kick from a very promising position 25 yards out from goal. Cesc Fabregas strikes a shot at goal but it limply whacks the wall in front of him. A poor effort, it has to be said.


About seven minutes to go before half-time now, as Chelsea manage to wrestle back possession for a decent spell and make some more chances of their own.

Antonio Conte’s side have sat back since going ahead, but goalscoring Eden Hazard has always been a threat any time he gets possession at his feet with a bit of space in front of him.

Phil Jones has looked a nervous wreck all game and that nervousness is transmitting to his entire back line, who look slightly disjoined and standoffish so far.



Prodding and probing, United continue to veer forward in search of a leveller before the break. Both sides have enjoyed time on the ball camped in front of their opponent’s penalty area, but creating clear chances at goal is a different matter altogether.

There have been just eight shots at goal in this game so far.


Chance! A big opportunity for Phil Jones to make up for his earlier mistake conceding the penalty.

A cross towards the back post saw the England defender go unmarked, but Jones just couldn’t manage to steer the ball on target. It was a tricky angle.


There will be just one minute of stoppage time to come at the end of the first half.


Well, what have we made of it so far? It hasn’t been as bad as we first feared — sure look, there’s even been a goal. Eden Hazard’s penalty is the difference between the sides but otherwise there hasn’t been a whole lot between them.

The second half is coming up shortly!


Man United have started much the brighter inside the second half. A lot of success coming down the right wing via Antonio Valencia getting forward and you have to say Chelsea really are being pinned back at the moment.


Eden Hazard has gone done holding his face and a chorus of boos from opposition supporters greets a stoppage in play by referee Michael Oliver. The Belgian took a knock from Chris Smalling, but the contact was fairly minimal and he should be okay.


Chance! A dangerous free-kick swung in by Marcus Rashford forces a snappy save from Thibaut Courtois.

It looked like the forward was going to cross the ball in. His shot at goal caught everyone by surprise, expect for the Belgian goalkeeper who saw it early and forced it clear. That easily could have been level pegging.


A second chance to level in quick succession for Man United as they continue to up the ante. This time Ashley Young takes the ball on his weaker left foot inside the box and arrows a shot just over the bar. It was always rising.


And a third shot in a row sees Courtois called into action.

Antonio Valencia again with success down the right wing. His cross is poor, but Chelsea fail to clear desperately — the ball falls to Rashford who tries his luck from range, forcing a fine low save from the goalkeeper.


Antonio Valencia is shown a yellow card for dragging down Eden Hazard cutting inside from the left wing.


United have been very impressive since the interval.


It’s been an action-packed second half so far at Wembley, but it’s still 1-0.


Chelsea v Manchester United - The Emirates FA Cup Final



Nemanja Matic gets in on the action with a shot from range. There was more than enough time and space on his side to muster a decent effort on goal, but the midfielder drags a paltry shot seeping well wide of the target. Dreadful, just dreadful Nemanja.


Goal! But it’s not going to count…. Alexis Sanchez puts the ball into the back of the Chelsea net, but the linesman has his flag raised.

Phil Jones’ initial header forced a superb low diving save from Thibaut Courtois. The Belgian couldn’t get to the ball before Sanchez, who snatched the ball in, but the Man United forward was fractionally offside and so it won’t count.



It has to be said, it’s ben a much, much better second half. Man United have absolutely gone for it but haven’t yet found the breakthrough. David De Gea was forced into a few top saves in the first half, but has barely been called into action at all since the break.

His opposite number Thibaut Courtois has been the difference between the sides here. Chelsea’s 1-0 lead owes a huge amount to him keeping Marcus Rashford & Co at bay at every given chance.


Man United preparing to make a change as Romelu Lukaku warms up.


CHANCE! Ohhhh Chelsea really should be 2-0 ahead. Marcus Alonso with a guilt-edged chance from five yards out, but his low strike from point-blank range is aimed right at the legs of De Gea who does brilliantly to stay composed and see the shot rebound away. A sitter.


CHANCE! It’s utterly end-to-end at the minute. Marcus Rashford is played clean through on goal, he tries to dink the ball over the oncoming Courtois but the goalkeeper does excellently to force it away for a corner. He closed down the space perfectly to make the forward’s mind up for him.


Phil Jones is having a bandage applied to his head after taking a nasty knock. The defender has endured a difficult afternoon, but has endured and prevailed — well, sort of.


He’s been everywhere this afternoon.


Chance! A free header for Paul Pogba flies just wide of the post. A big chance for Man United to draw level, as the clock ticks on.


Mourinho’s side still pushing on with five minutes left on the clock. It’s terribly tense altogether with Chelsea still threatening on the break to put this game to bed. Eden Hazard is buzzing around seemingly covering every single blade of grass.


Substitution for Chelsea: Alvaro Morata replaces Olivier Giroud.


It’s still very end-to-end here. Eden Hazard barges down the left flank and forces a corner kick which will succeed in wearing down the clock for his side as injury time approaches.


Substitution for Chelsea: Willian replaces Eden Hazard.


There will be five minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.


Antonio Ruediger stops a potential Man United counter attack down the right wing right at its source — booting the ball into the out of touch with no hesitation. Just a couple of minutes remaining: will there be late, late drama at Wembley?


Chance! Matic wriggles clear of his marker inside the box to connect with Antonio Valencia’s cross, but his dipping effort lands just over the crossbar above its intended target.


Chelsea have earned another late corner via Willian, which they will use to see down the clock here.

Well, there we have it. Chelsea are FA Cup champions! Eden Hazard’s penalty was the difference in a tense and fraught game in which Man United had a handful of chances to level in an exciting second half.

Thanks a million for joining us, have a great evening!

About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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