Having played for both Chelsea and Liverpool in his career, Joe Cole may know better than most in predicting which team is better equipped to clinch Saturday’s FA Cup final
Thomas Tuchel’s side will make the short trip to Wembley with ambitions of winning their third trophy of the season, having already clinched the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup. The Blues will be itching to put things right, however, after losing out to Liverpool at the same stadium in February.
On that occasion, the Reds were crowned winners of the EFL Cup after an enthralling final which ended 0-0 after extra time. But the Merseyside outfit went home with the trophy after winning 11-10 in the penalty shootout, with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missing the decisive kick against opposite number Caoimhin Kelleher.
However, Cole — who made 282 appearances for Chelsea before leaving for a nightmare spell at Anfield in 2010 — believes the west London club will edge a narrow final due to Tuchel’s tactical pragmatism.
“I fancy Chelsea to win 1-0,” Cole told JOE. “Admittedly that’s my heart rather than my head because Liverpool look impenetrable at the moment. You see the way they’re playing, they’re such a great team. But I think Thomas Tuchel might have something up his sleeve for this game so I’m going for Chelsea.”
Tuchel will be hoping to clinch the FA Cup at the second time of asking after losing out to Leicester City in last year’s final. In a disappointing display from his side, Chelsea went down 1-0 after a stunning long-distance strike from Youri Tielemans condemned them to defeat.
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Only a week later, he guided Chelsea to an unexpected Champions League success by beating Manchester City after just five months in charge, following the sacking of Frank Lampard. But he has made this team his own now and preventing a Liverpool side from winning the quadruple by claiming the FA Cup would represent a decent campaign.
And Tuchel, when quizzed about whether he will repeat the same tactics that saw Arrizabalaga miss the penalty, decided to keep his cards close to his chest: “I will not tell you. I have an opinion about it. If it comes, you will see,” he told reporters in his press conference.
“In approaching the match, we always say: “Let’s see how the game goes and if we still have the change available.’ It is never done before. We have a plan of what we can do. I’m a bit torn in how much you can practice.”