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Saturday 3 December 2016

FA Cup final key battles

Published 14/05/2010 | 13:49

Fuelled by a sense of injustice over their relegation from the Barclays Premier League and being denied a place in Europe next season, Portsmouth are looking to cause a minor sensation by beating Chelsea at Wembley in the FA Cup final.

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Here, we look at the key battles that will have to be won if the Pompey Chimes are to be heard at Wembley for the second time in three seasons.

John Terry v Aruna Dindane

The Chelsea skipper suffered an injury scare earlier in the week which for a very brief period raised concerns he could miss the FA Cup final and even the World Cup, but he has declared himself fit for action at Wembley and team-mate Joe Cole admits you would need to "run John Terry over twice" to keep him out of big games. Terry has responded to his well-publicised off-field problems stoically, but his form has dipped since and Pompey could exploit any inconsistency.

Dindane can only play thanks to his parent club Lens waiving a fee that should become active by an appearance at Wembley. He has tended to be Pompey's most potent attacking weapon and his tussle with Terry will be an interesting one, although he is battling against a groin injury to be fit.

Didier Drogba v Anthony Vanden Borre

If Portsmouth are to emerge victorious, Premier League Golden Boot winner Drogba will have to be kept quiet. The Ivory Coast star has previous in FA Cup finals, however, having netted the opener in the Blues' 2-1 win over Everton last year and an extra-time winner against Manchester United in 2007.

Vanden Borre only arrived at Fratton Park last summer, so has known only bleak times. But the Belgium international is a decent performer on his day and capable of shackling the Ivorian if all goes to plan.

Frank Lampard v Aaron Mokoena

England midfielder Lampard has enjoyed an excellent season at club level with 22 league goals and it will be vital that Pompey boss Avram Grant formulates a plan to stop him.

South Africa captain Mokoena, who performed solidly as a defensive midfielder in the semi-final win over Tottenham, could be the man with the main responsibility for tracking Lampard as he seeks to gain the sharpness he needs with the World Cup coming up on home soil.

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