More importantly, lifting the trophy would be a first major triumph for one of the two young managers going head-to-head at Wembley.
Despite underwhelming recent seasons in the Premier League, Arsenal somehow remain the country’s biggest menace in the FA Cup. How exactly do they do it?
Arsenal’s FA Cup Story
Saving Grace for Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal
Arsene Wenger stands alone as the only manager in Premier League history to have led a team through an entire season without defeat.
The ‘Invincibles’ of 2003/04 are regarded by many as the greatest team to have graced the competition.
Wenger, though, holds another unique record in a different competition entirely. The Frenchman has won the FA Cup on seven occasions, making him the most successful manager in its history.
Indeed, the FA Cup became a source of salvation for Wenger’s Arsenal as his reign turned sour over the course of its final years. Winning the competition in 2014, 2015 and 2017 gave the fans something to cling to as the club slid into decline.
A Potential Springboard for Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is the man now charged with reversing this decline. The Spaniard has impressed so far over the course of his brief Arsenal tenure and got the better of his great friend and mentor Pep Guardiola in the semi-final of the competition this season.
This was a result synonymous with Arsenal’s recent magic when it comes to upsetting the odds in the FA Cup.
In the Premier League, Manchester City thumped Arsenal 3-0 when the two clubs met on 17 June. That result continued a run of seven successive City victories over the Gunners, dating back to 23 April 2017, when Wenger’s Arsenal got the better of the Cityzens for the first time in two years.
The occasion that day? The FA Cup semi-final, just as it was last time out. A curious statistic, but one which shows that Arsenal these days are a completely different proposition when it comes to the cup and Wembley Stadium.
Arteta will hope this notion holds true on Saturday against Chelsea at the home of football. Curiously once more, a 2-1 victory over the Blues in the 2017 final gave Wenger the last-ever trophy of his glittering career.
Victory over the same opponent will give Arteta his first taste of silverware as Arsenal manager. It could be the catalyst which propels the club to further glories as Arteta ushers in a new era in North London.
Few would bet against it. Arsenal at Wembley truly are a different proposition to Arsenal elsewhere. Perhaps it really is the magic of the cup.