Paul Smith

What: English FA Cup final
Who: Chelsea vs Portsmouth
When: Saturday 15th May, 2010, at 15:00 BST
Where: Wembley Stadium, London, England

League season performance

Chelsea: 1st in the Premier League
Portsmouth: 20th in the Premier League

Going for the Double

Fresh from securing the Premier League title in emphatic style following an 8-0 thumping of Wigan Athletic, The Blues now turn their attention to the FA Cup as they attempt to secure a domestic double. Carlo Ancelotti has so far met the expectations of this employers during his tenure in English football and he would dearly love to win trophy that has such a world renowned reputation.

The current holders reached the final with relative ease, only conceding one goal en-route. Chelsea’s only real scare came in the semi-final against a well-organised Aston Villa side, where a 3-0 scoreline flattered the Stamford Bridge outfit.

One last Hurrah

Portsmouth’s participation in the FA Cup final is quite extraordinary following a tumultuous season at Fratton Park. At the times during the campaign the club’s very existence appeared in doubt as chronic cash flow problems threatened to force them out of business. It’s a cliché that fans and players should enjoy the occasion of an FA Cup final, but with a lengthy spell in the Championship looking a distinct possibility as the side looks to rebuild, this might be Pompey’s last appearance in a show piece final for some time, and all those connected with the club will want to make the most of it.

Portsmouth have had a tough battle to reach the final, with the highlight of the run an away victory at bitter rivals Southampton, although the 4-1 scoreline doesn’t the tell the full story of a game in which the Saints dominated large periods.

Route to the final

Round Three: Chelsea 5-0 Watford
Round Four: Preston North End 0-2 Chelsea
Round Five: Chelsea 4-1 Cardiff City
Quarter-final: Chelsea 2-0 Stoke City
Semi-final: Aston Villa 0-3 Chelsea


Round Three: Portsmouth 1-1 Coventry City; Replay: Coventry City 1-2 Portsmouth 2 (AET)
Round Four: Portsmouth 2-1 Sunderland
Round Five: Southampton 1-4 Portsmouth
Quarter-final: Portsmouth 2-0 Birmingham City
Semi-final: ottenham Hotspur 0-2 Portsmouth

Key absences

Chelsea – Jon Obi Mikel (knee); Jose Boswinga (knee); Ricardo Carvalho (very doubtful – ankle)

Portsmouth – Richard Hughes (hamstring); Danny Webber (knee); Herman Hreidarsson (calf/shin); Kevin Prince-Boateng (very doubtful – ankle) Jamie O’Hara (very doubtful – back)

Key battles

Carlo Ancelotti vs Avram Grant

In a fascinating sub-plot Avram Grant takes on the team he nearly led to Champions League glory just two years ago. The Israeli coach has done a remarkable job to guide the Hampshire outfit to the final of this competition amid the financial turmoil off the pitch and will be determined to deny the club that sacked him a domestic double.

With confidence in the Chelsea squad bound to be sky high following their Premier League triumph, Carlo Ancelotti will need to ensure that complacency doesn’t become an issue in a match where they are comfortable favourites.

Aaron Mokoena vs Didier Drogba

Mokoena will have the ultimate honour of leading out the South African national team at a World Cup on home soil in just a few weeks time. Before he can dream of that moment though he has the unenviable task of marking the Premier League’s golden boot winner and one of the best strikers in the world in an FA Cup final. If Portsmouth are to pull off a shock then the South African captain will need to keep the Ivorian marksman quiet.

Frederic Piquionne vs John Terry

The on-loan Lyon striker has had an excellent season which has led to reported interest from other Premier League clubs. His tally of 11 goals is a good return for a first taste of the English game, especially playing in a team battling relegation, but most impressive has been his hold up play and all round physical presence. In a game where he could be deployed as a lone striker, Piquionne’s ability to hold up the ball and run the channels on an energy sapping pitch will be pivotal to Portsmouth’s tactical plan. If Terry can prevent Piquionne from retaining possession then it could be a long afternoon for the Hampshire outfit.

Players to watch

Portsmouth – David James: Pompey’s keeper was in the Aston Villa goal ten years ago when the Birmingham side were beaten 1-0 by Chelsea in the last ever FA Cup final to be played at the old Wembley. The England goalkeeper was judged to be at fault for Roberto Di Matteo’s goal which proved to be the difference between the two sides. A decade later and the former Liverpool shot stopper will be eager to right some demons as well as put in a big match performance to impress Fabio Capello ahead of the World Cup in June.

Chelsea – John Terry: All eyes will be on the Chelsea captain after he suffered a foot injury in midweek which led to initial fears that he could be out of the World Cup.  It has since turned out that the injury isn’t as serious as first thought and Terry has confirmed he will play in the final. How the fit the former England skipper actually is remains to be seen.

Match prediction

Chelsea will be expected to win this match comfortably having already beaten Portsmouth twice in the league this season, including a 5-0 drubbing away at Fratton Park. In Portsmouth’s favour on this occasion could be the much maligned Wembley pitch: Chelsea struggled to get their passing game going in the semi-final against Aston Villa which will give Portsmouth some hope.

Despite the far from ideal pitch conditions playing a part, Chelsea should have the talent and experience to win this in the ninety minutes with a two goal cushion.

Inside Futbol will be providing online coverage of this match via our twitter account – – and don’t forget: If you fancy a bet on this exciting game, you can find and compare the prices of all major online bookmakers at


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