The final repeat of the 1876 FA Cup, then. It is this, you must remember, in which the legendary Arthur Kinnaird, captain of the Old Etonians, suffered an injury and was forced to take the goal, his aching pains were an important factor in the Wanderers' easy 3-0 victory. We mention this game in particular only because attendance at the Kennington Oval that day, 1,500, is currently the lowest in all of the country's history. FA Cup Final. For reasons that we don't really need to explain, that record will be deleted from the books at 5:31 pm this afternoon.
So yes, this occasion without fans will be really strange. But the FA Cup finals shouldn't look normal. Would it have been normal when Arsenal won their first FA Cup in 1930, Graf Zeppelin hovering over Wembley, the 776-foot hydrogen giant dipping its nose to recognize King George V? It would have looked normal when Chelsea won their first FA Cup in tufted shades of 1970, after the kind of conflict at Old Trafford that would not be tolerated today, not even outside of Belt & Haymaker on a hot Sunday afternoon? It also didn't seem like an everyday occurrence last year, when Manchester City was making venison sausages at Watford, and there were 85,854 people attending the event, for God's sake. You are meant feeling uncomfortable, a little sick, this is the effect that great sporting occasions have. They feel surreal at best. Abnormality is the main point. So let's go ahead.
Today’s final, the 139th, can be crazy. Arsenal face Chelsea on the big occasion for the second time in four seasons and the third in total. They won the previous two, as favorites of all winners in 2002 and then as losers in 2017. They will be lost again today, due to the best season in Chelsea's Premier League and the fact that the Blues beat them 4-1 in last year's Europa League final. But there is not much in it. Both sides may be sparkling in the attack; not too much police, if we're being totally honest, in defense. That said, although neither team is the finished article under new direction, both are able to dominate the day on a good day, as evidenced by their respective semi-final victories over Manchester City and Manchester United.
A 1-0 disappointment, then? Possibly; the finals are usually, no matter the local derbies. But it could just as easily be one of those thunderous festivities that also happen. And listen, no matter last year's 6-0, we didn't have Seven objectives since Blackpool and Bolton shared them in the Matthews final, so we're more than beating another. Do you like one of these? Yes us too! OK: Arsenal, Chelsea, you know what to do. Be about your business! Entertain the nation! It's on!
Beginning: 5:30 pm BST.