FA Cup Final Preview
With the Premier League race done and dusted and the Champions League trophy spending the summer in Catalonia, there’s only one more piece of silverware on offer in the 2008-2009 season, and either Everton or Chelsea will lay claim to it tomorrow at Wembley.
Who’s in and who’s out – Frank Lampard, Alex and Juliano Belletti are available for Guss Hiddink’s alleged swan song as Chelsea’s manager while David Moyes can select Phil Neville and Steven Pienaar, if he so chooses.
History lesson – These two teams have never met in a FA Cup final. … The two sides played to a pair of scoreless draws in Premier League matches this season. … Their last meeting in a FA Cup tie was a 4-1 win for the Blues at Stamford Bridge in a 2006 replay. … Everton owns two wins over Chelsea in FA Cup play (1938 and 1956). … The teams have combined to win this trophy nine times, with the Toffees claiming titles in 1906, 1933, 1966, 1984 and 1995 and Chelsea winning in 1970, 1997, 2000 and 2007.
Webb in charge – Howard Webb will be the referee in this one, and according to the BBC, he’s handed out 133 yellows and five reds in 42 league and cup matches this season.
Drive for five – Chelsea’s Ashley Cole has a chance to win a fifth FA Cup winners medal, a feat that hasn’t happened since the 19th century.
They said it – “Our form since Guus Hiddink took over has been championship-winning form, and we only didn’t go to the Champions League final because of things that happened on the night – our performance over the last five months has set the standard. He’s been very impressive, the way he handles players, the way he handles everything really. It will be great to finish off with a big day out and a win for him.” – Frank Lampard, to Fox Sports
“Tim (Cahill), I know from my Aussie period and he is one of those players who is very determined. This is a guy who on top of good organization can make the good decisions. He did a wonderful job in the Aussie team. Everton, not because they are our opponent, deserve a lot of respect because of the way they are built without the resources of other clubs and that’s because of the management,” – Hiddink, to Fox Sports
“It would be lovely to win the cup, go away and not read anything and not hear anything about Chelsea or football (for the summer). It has been a tough couple of years with different managements and it is important the players get their rest and we come back even stronger next year.” – Chelsea captain John Terry, to Fox Sports
“We respect Chelsea and they will be the favorites. But we have drawn with them twice this season and done pretty well against them and we feel we can do that again.” – Everton manager David Moyes, to Fox Sports
“The FA Cup final obviously doesn’t come about that much and Chelsea are one of the greatest sides in Europe. But it is a 90-minute game and if we play well on the day then anything can happen so we will just take it like that, do well in the game and see what happens.” – Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell, to The Guardian
One more spin on the predictor – Come on, play the game. Pick the winner with the EPL Talk Predictor.
Choices in the U.S. – The match will air on both Setanta and Fox Soccer Channel at 10 a.m. EST.