The Wembley showpiece is finally here as two sides, Chelsea and Manchester United, aim to secure a successful season with silverware after mixed results up to this point.
Failure for both clubs would ensure a poor season overall and leave big questions heading into a pivotal summer.
Jose Mourinho is aiming to get one over his former club, while Romelu Lukaku, fitness permitting, Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic also come against their former team.
Antonio Conte could be waving goodbye to Chelsea after two years in charge, despite 12 months to run on his current deal, after weeks of speculation suggesting a summer divorce is on the cards.
Despite a sensational debut season that saw the Blues capture the Premier League title, failure to win the double after being upset by Arsenal last term left a sour taste.
Conte has a chance at redemption one year on and can also bury any lingering bad feelings by leaving on a high.
Lukaku faces late fitness test
Jose Mourinho says he will wait until the last possible moment before deciding if Romelu Lukaku is fit for the FA Cup final.
Lukaku has missed United’s last three games with an ankle injury and has been working hard to recover in time to face Chelsea at Wembley.
Although United’s 27-goal top scorer is likely to be fit to start, but boss Mourinho said he and his medical staff will leave a decision on Lukaku until tomorrow.
“Martial is fit and Lukaku we have to wait until the last moment,” said Mourinho.
“I don’t want to lie to you and say he doesn’t play and then plays, so Lukaku we have to wait.”
(Image Romelu Lukaku)
Mourinho also said United’s season will not be defined by tomorrow’s result against Chelsea, irrespective of the outcome.
“People can do what they want,” said Mourinho. “The same applies to yourself.
“You can analyse the way you want to analyse and I can analyse the way I want, so everyone is free to go in the direction you want to go.
“Of course it makes a difference, but one thing is to make a difference and to consider it good or bad because of one match.
“When I analyse the work I did and the effort I put and everything we all did in the club – and that includes the most important persons in the club which are the players – I’m not going to analyse them because of one very important match.
“But I know the effort [that has been put in] and I’m not going to change my analysis of the season because of one match, not at all.”
Fabregas reveals lost FA Cup winners’ medal
Cesc Fabregas has admitted he can’t find his FA Cup winners’ medal from 2005.
Chelsea’s Spain midfielder heads into battle against Manchester United at Wembley this afternoon hoping to win the trophy for a second time.
But he has revealed that the memento he received for beating United as an Arsenal player 13 years ago has been lost by his dad Francesc Snr.
“I cannot find it. I promise.” said the Blues’ star who has already won the World Cup with Spain, two European Championships, La Liga with Barcelona, the Copa Del Rey, a Spanish Supercup, the UEFA Super Cup, the World Club Cup, and, on returning to England with Chelsea, two Premier League titles and a League Cup.
“My dad used to keep them and once I grew up, one day I said, “Listen, where are all my medals and stuff?
“He nearly lost the World Cup one even! It was in my mum’s house in a box. I have nearly all of them but I’ve lost two or three.
“I found the World Cup medal. But this FA Cup one, I cannot find it!”(Image: cescf4bregas/Instagram)
Fabregas, who married long term partner Daniella Semaan on Tuesday, has promised to cherish his medal if Chelsea were to salvage their season by signing off with silverware.
He added: “That would be nice. I hope today it will happen. If we win, hopefully this time I will look after the medal!”
Conte could still be sacked – even if he wins!
Antonio Conte has acknowledged he could be sacked even if he leads Chelsea to FA Cup glory.
The final against Manchester United is widely expected to be Conte’s last game in charge of the Blues.
And Conte accepts that even winning it might not be enough to save him.
He said: “As you know very well, our job is very difficult. Sometimes you can win but the club decides to sack you anyway because they have a reason to do this.”
Conte insisted it is not for him to say whether winning the FA Cup should have any bearing on his future. (image Antonio Conte)
“There are other people to judge your work, to judge the season,” he said.
“I don’t think I’d be the right person to say: ‘Okay, if we win I plan this situation,’ or if we don’t, ‘we plan another situation’. I’m not interested in this. I’m interested in winning the final. This is the most important thing for me, for my players.”
And the Chelsea chief reckons it is too simple to look at his trophy haul as an indication of the job he has done at Chelsea.
He said: “It’s right to separate the two things because, otherwise, if you don’t win it means you didn’t work very well.
“It means that in France, in Italy, in Germany there is only one team that has worked well or one manager who has worked well.
“We must divide these two situations. And then, I think there are people to judge your work. But it doesn’t depend upon lifting a trophy or winning a league.
“I think this is different.”