Arsenal and Chelsea fans have been urged to stay away from Wembley for Saturday’s FA Cup final with the FA fearing a repeat of scenes outside Anfield when Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time in 30 years.
To be fair to Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal fans, there is something of a difference between winning the league for the first time in a generation and winning the FA Cup, especially when you consider that Arsenal last won it in 2017 while Chelsea picked it up the season after.
There are no droughts to end here.
That being said, you could understand why fans, deprived of the chance to watch their team play live since football returned, would think about heading up Wembley Way to be closer to their team.
The FA have one thing going in their favour, however – Wembley is a bit of a pain to get to meaning it is unlikely we will see large crowds gather like we did outside Anfield. Both semi-finals passed without a crowd gathering outside the ground.
Just in case, the FA have been liaising with both Arsenal and Chelsea and both clubs are to urge fans to ‘stay at home’. The FA will also issue the same message on their social media channels.
Although social distancing guidelines remain in place, the government’s messaging around the pandemic has been ‘mixed’ to put it kindly. The end result is an impending ‘second wave’ although it’s debatable if you can call it a second wave when the first one didn’t really go anywhere, the government and large sections of the media just pretended it did.
At the time of writing, 4.5m people in the Greater Manchester area, including Bradford, Burnley and parts of Blackburn have been ordered back into lockdown with all social gatherings banned, including going to your mate’s garden.
Health secretary, Matt Hancock, created anger on Thursday night when he announced the new restrictions, giving residents just over two hours’ notice before they came into force.
As expected, the government are blaming citizens for not adhering to social distancing rules rather than taking responsibility for the negligent way they have handled this pandemic leading the UK, an island nation, to suffer more than 60,000 deaths.
New Zealand, by comparison, lost just 22 people.
Of course, New Zealand’s population is significantly smaller at just 4.95m, so even if we just compare it to a part of the UK – Northern Ireland, which only has 1.8m people – they still performed much, much better.
Northern Ireland, as of the end of July, had lost 837 people.
FA Cup pedigree
No team has appeared in FA Cup final, nor won the trophy more, than Arsenal who are looking to lift the famous cup for the 14th time.
Arsene Wenger is the competitions most successful manager, winning the FA Cup seven times.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have won the FA Cup eight times in their history, the first time in 197. They also won it in 1997 and 2000 before Roman Abramovich’s money arrived and they picked up another five.