Arsenal may have missed out on a Champions League spot by a solitary point at the end of the Premier League season, but that just makes the Gunners even more dangerous in Saturday evening’s FA Cup final.
That’s according to Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris, the legendary Chelsea defender who still owns the club’s all-time appearance record – an accolade not even John Terry’s stellar career could take from the man who captained the Blues in the 1967 FA Cup final at Wembley.
50 years on, and Harris – the Blues’ original ‘Captain Leader Legend’ – sees similarities between this weekend’s final and the 67 final which saw Tottenham beat Chelsea in the first FA Cup final contested by two London teams.
In a video interview for ChelseaFan12.com, Harris recounts how his Blues side – which also included Peter Bonetti and Bobby Tambling – froze on the day and lost to a Spurs side he believes they should have beaten.
“Not always the best team wins in the FA Cup Final,” Harris told ChelseaFan12. “ Some players freeze and it happened to Chelsea in the 1967 Cup Final against Spurs. A month ago I would have been very confident of the outcome against Arsenal in the Final, but Arsenal have picked up of late and look a different team than the one even a few weeks ago.”
That is a sentiment which echoes Antonio Conte’s own comments ahead of the final. The league-winning manager warned Chelsea against complacency, saying that Arsenal are the favourites for the clash as they are looking to the Cup to turn their season from a failure to a success.
It’s not a view shared by Bobby Tambling, however. The man who scored Chelsea’s only goal of the losing 1967 Cup final was more optimistic about the Blues’ ability to take their trophy-winning form of the Premier League season into the Wembley final this weekend. He said, “I have great faith in this manager and his team. That’s why I am confident that they will go out and complete the Double.”
In the interview with ChelseaFan12.com, Gary Chivers – whose Chelsea career started towards the end of those of the other two – gave his opinion on opponents Arsenal:
“I am sure that Arsenal will keep Wenger on, and I am also sure that this is going to be a tough, tough game for Chelsea. I also think it’s going to be a very good game, and I cannot wait for it.”
In the 21st century, both Arsenal and Chelsea have lifted the famous old trophy five times – more than anyone else. Whoever wins this weekend will hold the record for most wins since the start of the millennium.