Who should Lampard start in FA Cup Final showpiece?

Frank Lampard takes his Chelsea side to Wembley seeking the club’s 9th FA Cup triumph. It would also be the Englishman’s first major trophy in management.

Having secured a top-four finish and Champions League qualification, a Cup victory over Arsenal would cement this as an excellent campaign for the Blues. But who should Lampard select for his biggest match in management to date? And what are the selection conundrums that Lampard is likely to face ahead of the Final?

Caballero or Kepa?

There is no doubt that Chelsea are in the market for a Kepa Arrizabalaga replacement. Willy Caballero started the victory against Wolves in which Chelsea confirmed their qualification for the Champions League.

He has also started four of the five FA Cup games this season, including the semifinal victory against Manchester United.

It is highly likely that Lampard will favour the 38-year-old Argentine once again, rather than opting for the out-of-form Kepa, who is headed for the Stamford Bridge exit.

Back-three or back-four?

Lampard’s major selection dilemma is likely to be centred around his starting system. Despite favouring a back-four for most of the season, he has selected a 3-4-3 formation in the last three matches. One of Lampard’s traits to-date has been an unpredictability in selection, making it difficult for opponents to second-guess. Arsenal have used a back-three in recent weeks so it would not be a surprise to see Lampard match this system despite mixed results.

N’Golo Kante

Just as in Baku a year ago, N’Golo Kante’s fitness ahead of a final against Arsenal is a major talking point. Kante played a key role in Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over the Gunners in last season’s Europa League triumph whilst carrying an injury. Lampard will undoubtedly start Kante if he’s available, probably at the expense of Jorginho. Kante’s fitness could also provide the catalyst for a change to the 4-3-3 system which Lampard appears to prefer. The Frenchman’s ability to cover every blade of grass is no doubt a key asset to a Chelsea side reliant on heavy pressing. The Blues will be keen for Kante to be passed fit.


Lampard’s choice of system is likely to impact his choice in forward areas. A 3-4-3 system would see one of Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic or Willian miss out. However, the 4-3-3 could make it possible for Lampard to include all three of the attacking trio that he has relied upon at various stages in the season. Olivier Giroud’s six goals in seven games are sure to see him selected against his former club, so Lampard’s attacking dilemma does not stretch to his main striker.

I think Lampard will stick to the system which worked effectively against Wolves and will match Arsenal up, tactically. N’Golo Kante’s fitness will be the only determining factor as to whether there’s an unchanged line-up or not. Lampard’s selection could go a long way to determining whether Chelsea can secure a ninth FA Cup triumph over their fierce London rivals.

Predicted line-up: 3-4-3. Caballero; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Rudiger; James, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Pulisic, Giroud, Mount.

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