Antonio Conte has already surpassed expectations in his first year as Chelsea manager and a victory in Saturday’s FA Cup final against Arsenal would complete arguably the greatest season in the club’s history.
A second Double, following the one completed by Conte’s fellow Italian Carlo Ancelotti in 2010, was not even on the radar last August when all the talk was of an expected battle for supremacy between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Chelsea skipper John Terry, who will leave the club at the end of the season after 22 years, said that anything other than a win would tarnish their achievements.
While Chelsea are one win away from the Double, Arsenal are desperately trying to end the season on a high after finishing fifth in the Premier League – their lowest finish since Arsene Wenger arrived in north London in 1996.
Arsenal have won the competition twice in the last three seasons but on both occasions they had also sealed Champions League qualification after a top-four finish.
This time lifting the trophy would be a “consolation” in what could still turn out to be Wenger’s last in charge.
Should Arsenal wreck Chelsea’s Double bid it would be Wenger’s seventh FA Cup – matching the number of times Chelsea have lifted the trophy in their history.