Arsene Wenger, Arsenal, FA Cup, final, Chelsea
Arsene Wenger needs to find some tactical magic to guide Arsenal to the FA Cup titleReuters

Arsene Wenger has one last opportunity to salvage something from this season for Arsenal, when the Gunners meet London rivals Chelsea in the FA Cup 2017 final at Wembley on Saturday.

Having seen the club finish outside the top four, and with it miss out on a place in the Champions League for next season, for the first time in 20 years, the pressure is really cranked up on Wenger to produce another FA Cup win for Arsenal.

And while Wenger is a master at winning FA Cup titles – no-one in history has won more than the Arsenal manager – this is a final that Arsenal go to as the serious underdogs. And that is a strange thing to say about Arsenal.

But then, when it has come to the big matches against the big teams, very rarely have Arsenal stood up put with real performances, particularly when that game hasn't been at the Emirates.

Yes, the Gunners had to overcome Manchester City in the semifinals, but that was very much the exception rather than the norm of the recent past.

And the last time Arsenal played Chelsea, the Blues outmanoeuvred the Gunners in the Premier League, with Antonio Conte's team picking up a 3-1 win at Stamford Bridge.

The only tiny bit of light in the dark tunnel for Arsenal is their 3-0 win over Chelsea at the start of the season, a result that, oddly enough, turned the Blues into the Premier League champions.

Because it is after that match that Conte turned to his more preferred three at the back, which proved to be so successful for Chelsea.

Wenger reluctantly, and also maybe to show he can be flexible, turned to a back three in a match against Middlesbrough last month, and after that change in formation brought about a much-needed away win, the Arsenal manager has stuck with the tactic for pretty much every single game after that.

Per Mertesacker, Arsenal, FA Cup, Chelsea, final
Per Mertesacker might be needed for the FA Cup finalReuters

The problem, though, for Arsenal, going into this FA Cup final, is that they are seriously short of centre-backs.

Laurent Koscielny is suspended after picking up a daft red card in the final day win over Everton.

Gabriel is out for up to eight weeks after suffering a knee injury in that same game against Everton.

Shkodran Mustafi has still not trained since suffering a concussion, and is an unlikely starter for the FA Cup final against Chelsea.

That leaves Wenger with just two fit centre-backs and a left-back, who has played as the left-sided central defender in this formation.

However, one of those centre-backs – Per Mertesacker—only played his first league game of the season last weekend, so Wenger will be taking a big risk by deploying the big German, even if Mertesacker has bags of experience.

Arsenal will need something like this to beat Chelsea

An iffy, injury-ravaged defence – Kieran Gibbs, who would have played as the left wingback with Monreal taking his place in the back three, is also an injury doubt – isn't exactly what you want to go with against a Chelsea side, fresh from being crowned Premier League champions and capable of ripping apart any team.

With Conte determined to finish his first season in England with a double, Arsenal have their work cut out if they are to win their third FA Cup title in four seasons, especially considering Wenger's recent record against the bright young things of the managerial world.

Too many times, Wenger has been outthought and outmanoeuvred by the likes of Pep Guardiola, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho and even Conte, and the onus is on the Frenchman to show he still has it in him to compete with the best.