Charlie Nicholas makes FA Cup final prediction and identifies ‘big problem’ for Arsenal against Chelsea

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard and Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta ahead of the FA Cup final
Chelsea and Arsenal do battle at Wembley in this year’s FA Cup final (Picture: Getty)

Charlie Nicholas has backed Arsenal to get their hands on the FA Cup for a 14th time this weekend but believes Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic could be a ‘big problem’ for his former club at Wembley.

Both Mikel Arteta and Frank Lampard will be looking to secure their first piece of silverware in what is a repeat of the 2017 final after Arsenal saw off Manchester City and Chelsea defeated Manchester United in the last round.

Arsenal came out on top three years ago as Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey got on the scoresheet versus a 10-man Chelsea side – the result saw the Gunners overtake Manchester United to become most the successful team in the history of the competition.

Luiz runs with the ball during Arsenal's Premier League clash with Watford
Nicholas says Luiz’s mistakes are a cause for concern (Picture: Getty)

And Nicholas is predicting a similar outcome on Saturday evening despite his concerns about Arsenal’s error-prone central defender David Luiz.

‘The way that David Luiz plays, you don’t know what will happen,’ the ex-Arsenal forward told Sky Sports.

‘That’s the fabric of the personality that Chelsea had and got the best out of and Arsenal have and don’t get the best out of.

‘He’s a real talent and I love watching him when he’s in form and he fancies it but he’s got a mistake in him because of the fabric of his personality.

‘So we have to take that risk, we don’t have many choices at the back. It’ll be a back-three, David Luiz will be the central figure in that and we have to rely on him.

Nicholas continued: ‘The thing is, Chelsea have also been playing with a back-three recently and I don’t think they’re any better than Arsenal so the wide areas is going to be key.

‘I’m delighted that Tierney has finally got fit and starting to look the real deal for Arsenal and I think that really that’s where Arsenal could win this: in the wide areas, with pace and pinning Chelsea back.’

Pulisic runs with the ball during Chelsea's Premier League win over Wolves
Pulisic has been in devastating form for the Blues (Picture: Getty)

Ex-Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud has been in outstanding form for Chelsea since the season’s restart – scoring seven goals in all competitions – but Nicholas feels Pulisic poses an even more significant threat.

‘The big problem for me is not so much our former player Giroud – although he has been in excellent goalscoring form – but it’s probably the player who has impressed as much as anybody apart from De Bruyne or Mane this season and that’s Pulisic,’ Nicholas added.

‘Pulisic has been absolutely breathtaking to watch, even as an Arsenal man worrying about him for this FA Cup final.

‘But I’m pretty confident. We’ve got goals in the team at Arsenal, we’ve got pace. I’d like to see Saka start rather than Pepe with Lacazette or Aubameyang.  I’m confident and I can see Arsenal just nicking it.’

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