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Chelsea beat Arsenal to win FA Cup & complete 2020-21 domestic treble


Chelsea won the WSL title and the League Cup last season before securing the FA Cup at Wembley

Chelsea saw off Arsenal in a dominant display in the delayed final to last season’s FA Cup to win their first domestic treble.

Emma Hayes’ side, who also won the Women’s Super League title and League Cup last season, were deserved winners in front of 40,942 fans at Wembley on the 50th anniversary of the competition.

England international Fran Kirby put down an early marker, capitalising on a mistake at the back to net within three minutes, and Sam Kerr scored a brace in the second half to seal Chelsea’s victory.

Chelsea were utterly dominant – Sam Kerr and Kirby both hit the woodwork on three occasions, while Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger made numerous saves, particularly in the first half.

The Blues were frustrated not to be further ahead at the break but they made sure of victory shortly afterwards when Kerr teased defender Lotte Wubben-Moy before sliding it into the bottom corner in the 57th minute.

The Australian international, who had lifted it on to the crossbar in the first half, then made it 3-0 with an audacious chip and celebrated just as coolly, flapping her hand to signal how hot it was before sticking her tongue out playfully to the crowd.

Arsenal – the record 14-time winners of the FA Cup – were second-best throughout and despite a slight improvement in the second half, produced a performance which was a far cry from their domestic form this season.

The victory was Chelsea’s third in an FA Cup final and all three of their titles have come under Hayes’ guidance.

Chelsea’s Kerr too hot to handle

Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates in their opening WSL game of the season remains their only loss and they were clearly keen to make amends at Wembley.

From the first minute they pressed with intensity and Kerr’s runs in behind immediately caused problems for Arsenal’s back four.

Kirby silenced the Arsenal fans in the crowd within three minutes when she pounced on a mix-up and raced through on goal to fire in the opener.

She ran to the corner with her arms outstretched, sending Chelsea fans into a frenzy, and Arsenal never really recovered.

By the time Arsenal won their first corner in the 15th minute, Kerr had been denied in a one-on-one and a last-ditch interception from Jennifer Beattie had prevented Kirby from sliding in a second.

Zinsberger’s heroics kept Arsenal within reach at the break despite Kerr and Kirby both hitting the woodwork but Chelsea came out firing again in the second half, with Kerr eventually getting her reward.

Her second goal was stunning – even Kerr herself thought so judging by her celebration – and she was deservedly given a standing ovation when substituted late-on.

With the two sides going head-to-head for this season’s WSL title as well, Chelsea’s dominant victory was a humbling reminder to Arsenal of what it will take to steal the crown from them.

Stunned Arsenal comfortably beaten

Chelsea celebrate
Arsenal have won a record 14 Women’s FA Cups, while this was Chelsea’s third title

It was the worst possible start for Arsenal.

Kirby’s early goal stunned Wembley and the Arsenal players, who gave the ball away on countless occasions in the first half.

The defence was run ragged by Kerr, Kirby and Erin Cuthbert in particular and, were it not for several big saves from Zinsberger, Arsenal could have been 5-0 down at half-time.

Goalkeeper Zinsberger could not hide her frustrations – smacking the post in anger and screaming at her team-mates after tipping Kirby’s effort on to the post following a cut-back from Kerr.

And manager Jonas Eidevall was agitated on the touchline, often pacing from side-to-side and speaking frantically with his coaching staff. At one point he even held up notes to his attacking players and applauded them for responding with a successful high-press.

The absence of Leah Williamson at the back was evident and while in-form forward Beth Mead dazzled the crowd in bursts, she could not carry her team over the line.

In the end, Arsenal were lucky to go in at the break only one goal down but it felt like it would be only a matter of time before Chelsea began putting their chances away.

Kerr did just that, wounding Arsenal after the break and the Gunners never responded. The league leaders will have to pick themselves up quickly as there is a WSL title to be won, with Chelsea once again standing in their way.

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Arsenal Women

  1. Squad number1Player nameZinsberger

  2. Squad number16Player nameMaritz

  3. Squad number3Player nameWubben-Moy

  4. Squad number5Player nameBeattie

  5. Squad number7Player nameCatley

  6. Squad number13Player nameWälti

  7. Squad number12Player nameMaanum

  8. Squad number9Player nameMead

  9. Squad number10Player nameLittle

  10. Squad number15Player nameMcCabe

  11. Squad number11Player nameMiedema

  1. Squad number14Player nameParris

  2. Squad number19Player nameFoord

  3. Squad number20Player nameBoye Sørensen

  4. Squad number23Player nameIwabuchi

Chelsea Women

  1. Squad number30Player nameBerger

  2. Squad number4Player nameBright

  3. Squad number7Player nameCarter

  4. Squad number16Player nameEriksson

  5. Squad number22Player nameCuthbert

  6. Squad number5Player nameIngle

  7. Squad number8Player nameLeupolz

  8. Squad number11Player nameReiten

  9. Squad number17Player nameFleming

  10. Squad number20Player nameKerr

  11. Squad number14Player nameKirby

  1. Squad number3Player nameNouwen

  2. Squad number9Player nameEngland

  3. Squad number10Player nameJi So-Yun

  4. Squad number23Player nameHarder

  5. Squad number24Player nameSpence

Line-ups

Arsenal Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 16Maritz
  • 3Wubben-MoySubstituted forBoye Sørensenat 87′minutes
  • 5BeattieSubstituted forFoordat 70′minutes
  • 7Catley
  • 13WältiSubstituted forIwabuchiat 61′minutes
  • 12MaanumSubstituted forParrisat 80′minutesBooked at 81mins
  • 9MeadBooked at 7mins
  • 10Little
  • 15McCabeBooked at 65mins
  • 11Miedema

Substitutes

  • 4Patten
  • 8Nobbs
  • 14Parris
  • 18Williams
  • 19Foord
  • 20Boye Sørensen
  • 22Schnaderbeck
  • 23Iwabuchi
  • 29Goldie

Chelsea Women

Formation 3-4-3

  • 30Berger
  • 4Bright
  • 7Carter
  • 16Eriksson
  • 22CuthbertBooked at 44mins
  • 5IngleSubstituted forNouwenat 90+4′minutes
  • 8LeupolzSubstituted forJiat 86′minutes
  • 11ReitenSubstituted forSpenceat 87′minutes
  • 17Fleming
  • 20KerrSubstituted forEnglandat 86′minutes
  • 14KirbySubstituted forHarderat 74′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Musovic
  • 3Nouwen
  • 9England
  • 10Ji
  • 21Charles
  • 23Harder
  • 24Spence
  • 25Andersson
  • 29Fox

Referee:
Helen Conley

Attendance:
40,942

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