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Chelsea wonderkid Dominic Solanke will soon join Liverpool but meanwhile he’s the hero of the U20 World Cup semifinal game against Italy that England won 3-1 thanks to a brace of his and a goal of Ademola Lookman, who completed the come-back after the opener of Riccardo Orsolini after just 3 minutes.

Now the English youngster will face Venezuela, who beat Uruguay in the other semifinal at penalty shoot-outs, in next Sunday final.

Other two Chelsea players were protagonist in this important game for England U20: Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter, who both started and played 90 minutes in this clash and are set to play in the final as well.

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ARSENAL –  Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker (c), Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck.

Subs: Cech, Elneny, Coquelin, Iwobi, Lucas, Walcott, Giroud.

Manager: Arsene Wenger

CHELSEA – Chelsea team: Courtois; Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Cahill (c); Moses, Kante, Matic, Alonso; Pedro, Diego Costa, Hazard.

Subs: Begovic, Zouma, Ake, Terry, Fabregas, Willian, Batshuayi.

Manager: Antonio Conte

 

 

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Nemanja Matic wants to add another trophy to his collection tomorrow when Chelsea will face Arsenal in the Fa Cup final at Wembley.

“It’s true, The FA Cup is a very important competition,” – Matic told the Fa official website – “I found that out quickly when I came here the first time and recognised it is something special for the fans and the club. It has similar importance to the league for the supporters of every club, and now we’re here in the Final, there’s a chance and we have to take it. But we’ll be respectful of Arsenal, we know this will be their last chance to win something this season so they will be ready for us and will have been focused on this game since the semi-final, because they know The FA Cup is very important.”

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Antonio Conte is concerned for the game that is waiting for Chelsea tomorrow: the Italian tactician reckons Arsenal will fight hard onto the pitch as – after missing all the targets in this season, including the Champions League qualification- the FA Cup will the only way to save this campaign:

“We have to pay great attention in modern football,” Conte said in today’s press conference.

“Honestly I saw a lot of attention, a lot of concentration for my players, we trained very well this week.

“I can stay calm because I trust my players, it’s impossible for me not trusting my players for what they did this season.

“We don’t have to forget this target, it’s a fantastic target and we don’t know if in the future we will have again the chance to win this trophy.

“In this game I think we must think about ourselves, to be very focused on the game and to do what we know, it’s important to do it, this is the most important thing.

“If you start to think players can miss next game, it’s not right, Arsenal got many good players, we need to pay attention.”

Asked if he can imagine his feelings playing a final in Wembley, he replied:

“I had this feeling already in the semifinal against Spurs, to play in Wembley it’s a fantastic experience, if the stadium is full it’s great, tomorrow we have another chance to play there, we have to do our best for our fans. To have all these emotions in my first season here is a fantastic opportunity for me.”

“Maybe we started the season as underdogs, but then we won the league and it was right to enjoy. On the other side we have a team that have lost also champions league spot, they have only this target to save the season, so we must be focused.

“But I trust a lot my players, because they’ve always showed me to have the right concentration. For sure tomorrow it will be a tough game for both team, but we will try to win the trophy.

Earlier this week many young people unfortunately lost their lives in a terroristic attack in Manchester, after kamikaze blew himself up at the entrance of Manchester Arena, while people were leaving after popstar Ariana Grande’s concert.

Asked if he is worried about this situation, with terrorists targeting big events like football games and big gigs, he said:

“Honestly I lived another similar situation when I was with the Italian national team and we were playing in Belgium, when they tried to place a bomb at England v Germany game.
I think this can condition your mind, but you have to go on, you must live with passion, enthusiasm, when there are these situations you are a bit scared, but we must continue to live and face the situation.”

John Terry will play his last game for Chelsea tomorrow, but Conte admitted is unlikely for the Blues captain to start:

“I don’t know, it’s very difficult to answer, for sure John will be with us, for sure will be on the bench, and then we will see what the game requests, it depends on the moment of the game, we will play also to see him lift this trophy. My players have this dream as well, tomorrow anyway will be a tough game.”

Asked again about his future plans, Conte reaffirmed he will stay at Chelsea despite a huge offer he received from Inter:

“At the moment the situation is very clear, if the club give the possibility to stay here and extend my contract, it’s great for me. We have the same idea, to improve the squad, I am happy for this season, I am happy to stay here, I want to stay here for many years.”

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The Fa Cup final on Saturday at Wembley will give Chelsea the chance not only to complete the Double, but also to revenge their 3-0 loss at Emirates Stadium last September.

“We still think about it”, – Victor Moses said. – “We lost two games in a row then, against Liverpool and Arsenal. We felt very sad after that game. They beat us at the Emirates but we switched to 3-4-3, which is the manager’s favourite formation, and it’s worked for us this season. Teams are finding it very hard to break us down. We’ve got the league title and they’re going to want to win because they missed out on the top four. We’re going to try and stop them because we want the Double”.

 

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In his pre-match press conference, Arsenal‘s manager Arsene Wenger said that winning the Fa Cup final will be a good and deserved reward for what the team has done in the last few months:

“I think the team has redressed very well the situation on the sporting side. That will be a good crowning of what we have done in the last two months. The team has given so much, I think they really want to win something”.

Arsene Wenger reflected also on the fact Arsenal will not be favourites on Saturday at Wembley. “The pressure was of course very high against Hull in 2014 and Aston Villa in 2015, but especially against Hull because we had not won a trophy for a while”. – the French manager said – “This time we are not favourites, it’s quite even or maybe Chelsea are even ahead, so it’s a bit similar to what happened in the semi-final against Manchester City”.

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John Terry and Chelsea were criticised for the way the legendary captain stepped out of the pitch last Sunday in his last game with the Blues shirt at Stamford Bridge, with a guard of honour by all his team-mates.

The episode criticised by some pundits with the BBC’s Garth Crooks saying: “This isn’t Hollywood, this is a Premier League fixture.”

But Terry claimed he doesn’t care about critics and renew his love for the fans:

“I couldn’t care less, I promise you,” the Blues skipper said.

“All I care about is celebrating with my Chelsea fans. Me and them have a wonderful rapport and have done for 22 years.

“Nothing that people write or say can ever get in the way of that.

“If that’s the way I want to go out, that’s the way I go out because I’ve been here 22 years, I’ve won so many trophies – so if I wanted to play one minute and come off, I would have done.

“I wanted to play 26 minutes because the shirt number means a lot to me and the supporters so as long as they are happy – and I was over the moon with the reception – I promise you I could not care less.”

Terry hopes to make his 718th and last appearance for the Blues in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal.

But the former England captain says he will never forget the ovation he received from the Stamford Bridge faithful.

“It was an unbelievable send-off from the supporters to help me to celebrate 22 years at the club.

“I’m very grateful to them, and it was something I will never forget. It was so emotional after the game, I was in bits.”

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Cesar Azpilicueta played every minute in every game of Chelsea‘s Premier League campaign.

The Spanish player knows the title was a big achievement for himself and all his team-mates, but now he is ready to get another reward on Saturday, in the Fa Cup final vs Arsenal.

“Obviously it’s not easy to play every minute and win the league,” – Azpilicueta told Chelsea official website – “It’s a big achievement. I’ve tried to do my best to get in the team but I have to be thankful to the manager, he’s trusted me a lot. I was always in the team and the only way I could repay his confidence was by working hard which is what I’ve tried to do since pre-season. In the end we got a big reward but we want a bigger one next Saturday”.

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Arsenal lost two key players in Premier League final game against Everton yesterday: Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel Paulista.

Both defenders, who started in Gunners’ 3-1 win, could not complete the 90 minutes at the Emirates Stadium due to different reasons: Koscielny received a straight red card for his reckless tackle on Enner Valencia in the 14th minute, Gabriel had to be stretchered off with a serious looking injury eight minutes into the second half.

The French defender will miss the FA Cup final for suspension, while the Brazilian one is rated as extremely doubtful, with Arsene Wenger saying his overstretched knee did not look good.

 

Two important men missing for the Wembley clash, that’s why Martin Keown reckons Arsenal have almost lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea:

“He’s [Wenger] almost lost the cup final today because there is a big hole in their defence because Koscielny is a wonderful player and Gabriel is an able deputy”, the Arsenal legend said on the BBC’s Final Score programme.

“Honestly, I really don’t know which way it’s going to go now.

“Arsene Wenger looked very low and very down.

“They only missed out very marginally [on the top four] and I think Arsene Wenger not signing his contract created uncertainty.

“The magic power he had was the warmth he gave to his players, the certainty he gave in everything he did – he took that away and he still hasn’t declared what he’s going to do yet.”

Arsenal have faced Chelsea twice this season, winning one game in September and losing the other one in February.

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Premier League is finished but Chelsea season isn’t: the Blues are running for the double, and they will try to emulate 2009/2010 success next Saturday, when they will face Arsenal in the FA Cup final.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte‘s major concern is to not decrease the focus and the tension in the dressing room, so to have players with the right motivation at Wembley:

“This is the real danger for us, to think that this season is finished,” Conte said after lifting Premier League trophy today.

“To win the title this season becomes great. This season can become fantastic if we are able to win the FA Cup. We must find the right motivation. It’s important for us to celebrate, but then to find the right fire in our soul to be ready to work very hard this week to prepare and to feel in the right way this game,” he told reporters.

“This is a great opportunity to win and to do the double. If you ask me who is the favourite now, I can tell (you) it’s Arsenal. Arsenal now has only this possibility to find a good season after a win in the FA Cup. For this reason we must pay great attention. We must find in ourselves the right motivation, the right anger. The game will be very difficult.

 “After I don’t know how many years Arsenal missed the Champions League. We must have our antenna very high and prepare in the right way. I’m not talking about tactical game, I’m talking about motivation, right fire in ourselves, in our soul, in our heart. If we have this in the same proportion as Arsenal, or more, we have the possibility to do the double. Otherwise we risk a lot.”

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