Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that the players are not thinking about their last year’s Europa League final defeat against Chelsea ahead of their FA Cup final against the same opponents on Saturday.
In the Europa final last year in Baku, Chelsea had thrashed Arsenal 4-1. However, a lot of water has flown by Thames since then as both the London clubs have undergone a transformation under their new managers – Arsenal under Arteta and Chelsea under Frank Lampard.
“A year in football is a different life,” Arteta said in a virtual news conference on Friday as quoted by IANS. “Even two weeks or three days later you can see a team performing one way then they can be a different team so there are not many things to take from that.”
Meanwhile, it seems Chelsea have been the better team this season as they secured a Champions League berth for next by virtue of finishing fourth in the English Premier League this season. Arsenal, on the other hand, suffered their worst league season in 25 years after ending at eighth.
However, a victory in the FA Cup final can guarantee them an Europa League spot for the next season. Arteta, thus, reflected on the importance of winning the trophy and said that at the moments it remains the only aim of the Gunners.
“I always say that the league table doesn’t lie too much. You can look at some decisions, even in the games that we played together, where we could have the gap a little bit smaller,” he said.
“…Our only aim and all our energy is going to be on winning that trophy, it doesn’t matter where we start. They are playing at a really good level but we are going to go for it.”
Even though Chelsea look favourites going into the final, Arsenal will take inspiration from their semifinal win. They had overpowered a superior Manchester City, much to the shock of everyone.
It will be the third FA Cup final between the London rivals after 2002 and the 2017. While Arsenal had won in 2002, the Blue had emerged victorious in 2017. Overall, Arsenal have 13 FA Cups and Chelsea have nine.