There’s no pressure quite like that of a cup final.
It’s the ultimate football occasion and, as a result, you’ve got to make sure your preparation is absolutely perfect. Meticulous planning, organisation and routine can be the difference between securing silverware and capitulating on the big stage.
Surely that isn’t a problem for Chelsea, right? You certainly wouldn’t think so with Antonio Conte having drilled his side into an effortlessly familiar 3-4-3 formation that seems to simply manufacture victories.
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In fact, it is this astonishing attention to detail that has been one of the driving forces of the Blues’ success this season. After all, their FA Cup final meet with Arsenal offers the unique opportunity to secure the double.
At least in once sense, though, Chelsea’s preparation for the final was noticeably lacking. However, it wasn’t any post-Premier League winning slump or on-pitch deficiencies proving culpable.
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Instead, the club made the unfortunate mistake of sending their players out onto the Wembley pitch without their black armbands.
Both sides had agreed in midweek to wear the bands in light of the tragic terrorist attack that had taken place on Monday. 22 people, including children, were killed at the MEN Arena while attending an Ariana Grande concert.
Consequently, Chelsea offered a statement stating: “As a mark of respect, our players will wear black armbands at the FA Cup Final against Arsenal on Saturday.”
So, what went wrong?
Well it appears to be an issue distinctly concerning the Blues with their rivals in red having no such problem. The armbands were laid out in the Chelsea dressing room but underneath the FA Cup jackets each player had been given, according to the Evening Standard.
However, due to the warm conditions, the Chelsea squad opted out of wearing the coats and thus the bands went undiscovered. Thankfully, the mistake was flagged up and the Blues have unearthed their armwear for the second half.
A logistical error indeed but a rather unfortunate one at that.
Nevertheless, it far from represents any disrespect from either Chelsea or their players with the west London club proving admirably philanthropic.
The Blues stated their intentions on Wednesday too by outlining: “Chelsea Football Club will also make a donation to a fund supporting the victims of this horrific attack.”
So while the absence of black armbands won’t cover Chelsea in glory, their other gestures certainly do and the same can be said for Arsenal.
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