It begins in August each year, with dozens of small non-league clubs playing in front of sparse crowds in places like Mangotsfield and Sevenoaks. After hundreds of matches, it culminates each May in Wembley Stadium in front of a packed house of nearly 100,0000 chanting, soccer-mad fans. We’re talking about the FA Cup of course, the oldest and most storied of trophies to be awarded in all of professional team sports around the world.
Unanimous A. I. convened its UNU Premier League Swarm one last time for the 2016-17 season earlier this week to predict the winner of this year’s final match on Saturday. The swarm closed out the regular league schedule in fine fettle this season, correctly predicting 19 of the 21 games in weeks 37 and 38. Those same swarm participants took a long look at a fascinating FA Cup Final that pits two London clubs – Chelsea and Arsenal – against one another…while also considering some of the more interesting prop bets related to the match.
This year’s FA Cup Final matchup sees two of the Premiership’s most storied clubs facing off in a battle between West London’s Chelsea and North London’s Arsenal. For UNU Swarm participants considering how this contest may play out in real life, they’re confronted with picking between two talent-laden teams from the EPL’s Big Six. If we grant that both teams are at least fairly near one another in first team skill, then the swarm turns to motivation. Which side will want this game more?
A case can certainly be made for Arsenal to play a ferocious game on Saturday. The Gunners have played inconsistently all year, frustrating fans by winning the big matches and then stumbling in key games against lower-table opponents. The Cup Final is a chance at redemption for a side expected to have challenged for the League back at the start of the season. Saturday’s match is also likely the last for longtime manager Arsene Wenger at the helm of the club, and they may want to send him off in style.
For Chelsea, the motivation is clear. Winning the Double (that is, taking the League Championship and the FA Cup in the same season) is still a rare enough occurrence that it carries a great deal of prestige. Chelsea is the last club to accomplish the feat (in 2010), and this year’s club will be striving to write their own names into the history of the sport. If they can pull it off, it will be the second time in club history that feat has been accomplished, and will certainly allow the Blues to lay their claim to being the greatest English club of the current decade. As you can see below, the UNU Swarm believes strongly that Chelsea will manage this impressive feat.
Every week, Unanimous A.I. conducted swarms to pick the outcomes of games in many sports. If you’d like to either join a swarm or just get the predictions weekly, feel free to drop by UNU.