Monday 11 December 2017

5 things Chelsea can learn from their FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal in 2002 for the rematch in 2017

By Max McLean

The Blues will be pleased to see neither Ray Parlour nor Freddie Ljungberg playing against them this time.

Arsenal’s 2-1 win over Manchester City means 2017′s FA Cup final will be a London derby, with Arsene Wenger’s men taking on Chelsea in the final for the first time since 2002.

Arsenal triumphed 2-0 in that particular game 15 years ago, achieving the domestic double just four days later by winning the Premier League at Old Trafford – what can Chelsea learn from that day to avoid a similar result?

1. Don’t wear an Armani suit

Chelsea wore Armani suits before the 2002 FA Cup final, which they lost – a pretty easy decision for Antonio Conte to make there.

2. Don’t gamble on a player’s fitness.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was a fine striker, and one you’d have been thrilled to have in your starting line-up in a cup final.

But the forward was a doubt for the game with a calf injury, and despite starting, was substituted after a disappointing performance. Learn from Claudio Ranieri’s mistake Antonio – play a fully fit first XI.

3. Don’t let John Terry lead you out

It was a lovely gesture for Ranieri to ask Roberto Di Matteo to lead Chelsea out in 2002 – the Italian had suffered a broken leg earlier in the season which had forced his retirement as a player.

However, little good the gesture did the Blues on the pitch, as they lost 2-0. John Terry will also be leaving the west London club at the end of the season – will Conte ask him to lead his team out? For superstition’s sake, maybe just give the Chelsea legend a nice meal before the game.

4. Don’t let Arsenal shoot from distance.

Allowing Ray Parlour space for a long-range effort wasn’t a wise idea, was it? Best close Arsenal’s forwards down if they get within 20 yards of goal.

5. Definitely don’t let them do it twice…

OK, you heard us the first time. Just 10 minutes after Parlour’s goal, Freddie Ljungberg scored a very similar goal, from a very similar distance, into the same corner of the net. Chelsea have had 15 years to learn their lesson.

Press Association

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