Arsenal are excited about Saturday’s Heads Up FA Cup final against Chelsea because the players want to “save our season”, says Alexandre Lacazette.
The Gunners, who have won a record 13 FA Cups, finished eighth in the Premier League and will not qualify for the Europa League if they lose at Wembley.
“We missed a few of our targets,” said France striker Lacazette, 29.
Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta and Chelsea’s Frank Lampard are both aiming to win first trophies as managers.
Lacazette added: “It’s been a weird year. We had the long stop, we changed manager [Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December], had different players.
“It was a difficult season, maybe the most difficult in my career, but I know I learned a lot. The FA Cup means a lot. I came to Arsenal to win trophies.”
Meanwhile, Blues boss Lampard has backed winger Willian to produce another “fantastic” performance in the final game before the Brazilian’s deal runs out.
“He’s been fantastic for us. He’s been fantastic this season – he’s shown the right attitude,” said Lampard.
“So I would expect nothing less than he’s shown already, and that’s Willian for you.”
Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin missed the win over Watford as a precaution with a tight calf but has been back in training this week.
Cedric Soares is cup-tied, while Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Gabriel Martinelli remain out.
Influential Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Willian are both in the squad after injuries.
However, Ruben Loftus-Cheek sustained a minor injury in training on Thursday and has been ruled out.
- Arsenal have won both of their previous FA Cup finals against Chelsea: 2-0 in 2002 and 2-1 in 2017.
- However, Chelsea have won their other two meetings in major finals, by 2-1 in the 2007 League Cup and 4-1 in last year’s Europa League showpiece.
- Chelsea’s only win in their past nine FA Cup clashes with the Gunners came in the 2009 semi-final.
- Arsenal have reached the FA Cup final a record 21 times and have also won the competition 13 times – more than any other side. They have featured in 15% of all FA Cup finals.
- The Gunners have not lost an FA Cup final at Wembley since a 1-0 defeat by West Ham in 1980.
- Arsenal finished outside the Premier League’s top six this season for the first time in 25 years.
- They’ve failed to score in only one of their past 31 FA Cup matches.
- This is Chelsea’s 14th FA Cup final; only Arsenal (21) and Manchester United (20) have reached more.
- They have lost only one of their past 15 FA Cup matches.
- Since his FA Cup debut in 2013, Olivier Giroud has scored 16 goals in the competition – second only to Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero.
- The Frenchman is aiming to become just the second player to score for and against a specific side (Arsenal) in separate FA Cup finals. Frank Stapleton netted for Arsenal against Manchester United in the 1979 final, and then for the Red Devils in the 1983 final versus Brighton.