FA Cup Betting: di Matteo doing fine
Head-to-head results between Chelsea and Liverpool are a further indicator of a low-scoring match.
Andrew Atherley has poured over 20 years of FA Cup Final stats and the head-to-heads between Chelsea and Liverpool, with the sad conclusion that Saturday's game will be a low scoring affair.
This weekend's final between Chelsea and Liverpool means this will be the 18th time in the 20 years of the Premier League era that one of England's 'big six' has lifted the trophy. And the results of most of those finals give a strong indication of what we should expect on Saturday - a tight, low-scoring match that will be competitive but may not be entertaining.
This is the seventh final in the Premier League era that has featured two big-six teams and only one of the previous six was a high-scoring affair - Manchester United's 4-0 win over Chelsea in 1994. Two of the six ended goalless after 90 minutes (one was won in extra-time and one on penalties), one was 1-0 and one 2-0. Liverpool v Arsenal in 2001 was also on the verge of being a low-scorer until Michael Owen's late brace snatched a 2-1 win for Liverpool.
Those six finals, then, have had four under 2.5 goals affairs, five with at least one of the teams failing to score, and four with no more than a goal between the sides. All six were still scoreless approaching the hour mark (the earliest opening goal came in the 60th minute of United's 4-0 win over Chelsea) and that raises the possibility of a back-to-lay of The Draw on Saturday at 3.35 and/or backing a Half-Time 0-0 at 2.56.
Head-to-head results between Chelsea and Liverpool are a further indicator of a low-scoring match. Fifteen of the last 20 meetings have had under 2.5 goals, with the majority ending 1-0 (five times) or 2-0 (seven).
The overall FA Cup final stats point the same way. Fourteen of the 19 finals in the Premier League era have had under 2.5 goals and almost half (nine out of 19) have had under 1.5 goals, although it is noteworthy that four of the five with over 2.5 goals featured Chelsea or Liverpool.
In terms of the match result, there is a strong trend towards the higher-placed team in the league structure, which in this case is Chelsea. In most of the past 19 finals the lower-placed team hasn't even scored.
The higher-placed team in the league structure has won 15 times out of 19. Thirteen of those 15 victories were achieved in 90 minutes, and 12 of those 13 wins were to nil. That's a strong pointer towards Chelsea (as the highest-placed team) for a win to nil.
Chelsea are 2.48 for the straight win in 90 minutes and should be around 4.0 to Win to Nil. Chelsea are 1.74 to win the trophy by any means. At the increased odds the Chelsea Win to Nil makes most appeal.
Current form also favours Chelsea. Under Roberto di Matteo, the Blues have won 11, drawn four and lost just one (away to Manchester City) in all competitions. In the same period, Liverpool's record in all competitions is won five, drawn one and lost six.
A mitigating factor is that Liverpool have fielded under-strength teams in some recent matches with their focus apparently on the cup competitions. And their cup record under Dalglish is certainly formidable, with 10 wins and two draws in domestic cup competitions since opening his reign with a 1-0 third-round FA Cup defeat at Manchester United in January last year.
One of those wins was at Chelsea in November in the Carling Cup but the balance of form has shifted since then and Chelsea have most of the stats in their favour now.