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Everton out to give Hiddink the blues

Published: Friday 29 May 2009, 19.10CET
Chelsea FC's plans to give Guus Hiddink a memorable send-off at Wembley in Saturday's FA Cup final could yet be torpedoed by a hungry Everton FC outfit who have already sunk Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC.
Everton out to give Hiddink the blues
Everton have been the story of this FA Cup season ©Getty Images
Published: Friday 29 May 2009, 19.10CET

Everton out to give Hiddink the blues

Chelsea FC's plans to give Guus Hiddink a memorable send-off at Wembley in Saturday's FA Cup final could yet be torpedoed by a hungry Everton FC outfit who have already sunk Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC.

Blue will be the colour at Wembley Stadium on Saturday when Chelsea FC and Everton FC meet in the 128th FA Cup final.

Consolation
If lifting the famous trophy in the concluding game of the English season is the common goal, victory would arguably mean different things to either club. For favourites Chelsea, success would bring consolation after the disappointment of their defeat in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals. Interim manager Guus Hiddink said: "Analysing this season, the team would have liked to fight for the Premier League title and be in the Champions League final. But the FA Cup is not a second prize."

Hiddink tribute
The Chelsea players would also like to send Hiddink back to Russia, and his job as national-team coach, with a winner's medal. Midfielder Frank Lampard explained: "Our form since Guus took over [from Luiz Felipe Scolari] has been championship-winning form – over the last five months he has set the standard. It would be great to finish off with a big day out and a win for him."

Scalps
An Everton triumph, meanwhile, would cap a fairy-tale run to the final – and perhaps be due reward for the Liverpool club's revival under David Moyes since his appointment in 2002. While Chelsea have faced only one top-flight side in semi-final opponents Arsenal FC, Everton have seen off Liverpool FC, Aston Villa FC, Middlesbrough FC and, in the last four, Manchester United FC. "We have already beaten two of the top four to get to the final, so why can't we make it three?" said playmaker Steven Pienaar. "We have drawn with Chelsea twice [in the league], so we really believe we can beat them this time."

Quiet confidence
Everton – who will wear blue, with Chelsea in yellow – finished fifth in the Premier League, two places behind the west London team, yet will happily reprise the role of underdog. "Chelsea came above us in the league but we'll go there with confidence," said Moyes. "This is undoubtedly the best Everton team I've had." Key man Lampard sat out Chelsea's victory at Sunderland AFC last Sunday, but their only significant injury since Michael Essien's return to fitness has been to Ricardo Carvalho. The Merseysiders' form continues to belie the absences of Mikel Arteta, Yakubu Ayegbeni and Phil Jagielka.

Credentials
Given Chelsea's position in the so-called big four of modern English football, an Everton side chasing their first trophy since 1995 represent the romantic choice. However, it is the Toffees who boast the stronger FA Cup pedigree having won five out of 12 previous finals, compared with Chelsea's record of four victories from eight attempts. The magic of the cup could be alive and kicking on Saturday afternoon.

Last updated: 29/05/09 15.02CET

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