It’s been a strange season for both Arsenal and Chelsea and yet they will go head-to-head at Wembley on Saturday in the FA Cup final.
Let’s start with Arsenal.
They sacked Unai Emery at the end of November after a winless run of seven matches. Freddie Ljungberg took charge of six matches before Mikel Arteta was appointed as permanent manager - his first managerial role.
Then there was an incident in October when captain Granit Xhaka was sarcastically cheered by the fans as he was replaced which prompted an angry response from the midfielder.
Unsurprisingly, he was stripped of the captaincy.
In the end, the Gunners finished 8th with Arteta steadying the ship and ending the league season on a positive note.
As for Chelsea, they finished fourth in Frank Lampard’s debut campaign despite having a transfer ban imposed. That alone is a fantastic achievement.
Lampard has blooded exciting youngsters and, at times, played some beautiful football.
However, they finished in the top-four by default really having lost 12 matches and conceded 54 goals during the campaign.
In truth, it’s impossible to call the final.
Both sides have shown incredible inconsistencies throughout the season and we just don’t know which Arsenal and which Chelsea will turn up on the day.
While we won’t stick our necks on the line and make a prediction, we’re willing to stick our necks on the line and rank every squad member of both of their squads ahead of the final.
From ‘world-class’ to ‘awful’ we’ve placed every player into a category using Tiermaker.
We’re well aware that every single player is far better than us and we have no right to call any professional ‘awful’. But we’ve done it anyway…
Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Where would this Arsenal side be without Aubameyang? He’s bagged 68 goals in 108 appearances since his arrival and you feel keeping hold of him is almost as important as winning the FA Cup.
Chelsea: Christian Pulisic
We may have jumped the gun slightly on calling 21-year-old Pulisic ‘world-class’ but he’s been magnificent since the restart and is showing glimpses of being the next Eden Hazard.
Arsenal: Bakayo Saka, Kieran Tierney, Bernd Leno, Dani Ceballos, Emi Martinez, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have plenty of ‘decent’ players in their squad which sums up their problem really. Good but perhaps not good enough to challenge the best sides in the division.
For Arsenal, Saka, Tierney and Martinelli have shown they’re the future of the club with decent performances this season, while Saliba will arrive from Saint-Etienne with a massive reputation. They will be hoping to keep Ceballos for another season, while they have two decent goalkeepers in Leno and Martinez. Pepe will probably be disappointed with his performances this season but we reckon he’ll come good next campaign.
Chelsea: N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Willian, Olivier Giroud, Mason Mount, Matteo Kovacic
Kante’s injury problems sees him fall into the decent category, rather than world-class. But Chelsea boast some good young talent with James, Mount having breakthrough seasons. Willian’s contract expires at the end of the season and could move to Arsenal but he’s been brilliant in recent weeks. So too has former Arsenal striker Giroud. In terms of consistency throughout the whole season, Kovacic has been Chelsea’s best player.
Arsenal: Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Granit Xhaka, Hector Bellerin, Eddie Nketiah
Ozil is world-class on his day but we can’t put him above ‘average’ considering he’s not playing at the moment. Lacazette shows glimpses of being brilliant but he’s had a fairly disappointing season. Xhaka deserves a lot of credit for turning around his season, while Bellerin also deserves credit for battling back from a serious injury. Nketiah is still only 21 and looks to have plenty of potential.
Chelsea: Tammy Abraham, Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ross Barkley, Jorginho, Cesar Azpiliceuta, Fikayo Tomori, Billy Gilmour
Abraham started the campaign on fire but has fallen down the pecking order as the season has progressed. Due to their terrible defensive record, there are plenty of defenders in the average list with Rudiger, Azpiliceuta and Tomori all included. Loftus-Cheek will be hoping to show his quality next season, while you feel Hudson-Odoi may struggle for gametime with the arrivals of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and potential Kai Havertz.
Barkley has been decent at times this season but lacks consistency, while it won’t be surprising to see Jorginho leave the club this summer. Gilmour produced two brilliant performances against Liverpool and Everton earlier this year but is still only 19.
Arsenal: David Luiz, Calum Chambers, Sokratis, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Matteo Guendouzi, Rob Holding, Lucas Torreria, Sead Kolasinac, Konstantinos Mavropanos
Plenty of ‘not great’ Arsenal defenders with Luiz, Chambers, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac and Mavropanos all proving they’re defensively inept at times. Maitland-Niles and Nelson are still young and have potential, while Guendouzi and Torreria have fallen out of favour at don’t look to have a long-term future at the club.
Chelsea: Marcos Alonso, Andreas Christensen, Willy Caballero, Kurt Zouma, Michy Batshuayi, Pedro
Alonso is one of the best attacking left-backs in Europe but he’s not very good at defending, unfortunately. While Christensen and Zouma haven’t exactly helped Lampard’s side this season. Batshuayi’s Chelsea career appears over with the arrival of Werner, while Pedro is leaving for Roma. Caballero is Chelsea’s best goalkeeper at the moment….
Arsenal: Shkodran Mustafi
We feel bad calling anyone ‘awful’ - we honesty do.
But Mustafi has, at times, been awful. Just look at that performance against Spurs earlier this month.
Chelsea: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Danny Drinkwater
We’re sorry but Kepa has had an awful season. Meanwhile, Drinkwater has had loan spells at Burnley and Aston Villa, playing five matches and having an average rating of just 5.78.
Check out our full Tiermaker rankings below:
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