Friday, January 21, 2022

Chelsea completes treble by defeating Arsenal in the Women’s FA Cup final

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Fran Kirby put Chelsea up early on, capitalizing on a defensive blunder to score within three minutes, and Sam Kerr added a brace in the second half to seal the victory.

Chelsea dominated, with Sam Kerr and Kirby both hitting the woodwork, and Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger making multiple saves, especially in the first half. The Blues were disappointed not to be ahead at halftime, but Kerr tricked defender Lotte Wubben-Moy before slipping the ball into the bottom corner in the 57th minute to ensure victory.

The Australian international, who had hoisted the ball over the crossbar in the first half, then made it 3-0 with a daring chip and celebrated as coolly as she could, flapping her palm to indicate how hot it was before sticking her tongue out to the audience.

Arsenal, who have won the FA Cup a record 14 times, were second best throughout the match and, despite a minor improvement in the second half, delivered a performance that was a far cry from their domestic form this season. Chelsea’s third FA Cup final victory, and all three of their titles have come under Hayes’ leadership.

Women’s FA Cup final Highlights:

Chelsea:

Chelsea’s sole setback this season was against Arsenal at the Emirates in their first WSL game, and they were eager to make amends at Wembley. They pressed hard from the start, and Kerr’s surges in behind caused issues for Arsenal’s back four right away.

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Within three minutes, Kirby had silenced the Arsenal supporters in the crowd when she pounced on a mix-up and sprinted through on goal to score the game’s first goal. Chelsea fans went crazy as she dashed to the corner with her arms spread, and Arsenal never recovered.

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

Despite Kerr and Kirby both hitting the woodwork, Zinsberger’s heroics kept Arsenal in the game at halftime, but Chelsea came out of the fire in the second half, with Kerr eventually getting her reward.

Her second goal was spectacular – even Kerr thought so based on her celebration – and she justifiably received a standing ovation when she was substituted late in the game.

With the two teams also competing for the WSL title this season, Chelsea’s overwhelming victory served as a sobering reminder to Arsenal of what it will take to dethrone them.

However, they will take pleasure in this victory first. Before staff came across to shower champagne over the players as they lifted the trophy, Hayes was the first to get her award. Before players gathered for selfies with the trophy and supporters waved flags behind the goal, Kerr covered herself in the remaining silver confetti in a classic Kerr manner.

Arsenal:

Arsenal got off to the worst conceivable start. Kirby’s early goal startled both Wembley and Arsenal players, who had given the ball away numerous times in the first half. Kerr, Kirby, and Erin Cuthbert in particular wore down the defense, and Arsenal could have been 5-0 down at halftime if Zinsberger hadn’t made many spectacular stops.

After tipping Kirby’s effort onto the post following a cut-back from Kerr, goalkeeper Zinsberger could not hide her displeasure, pounding the post in rage and yelling at her teammates.

On the other hand, manager Jonas Eidevall was furious on the sidelines, pacing back and forth and feverishly communicating with his coaching staff. He even held out notes to his attacking players at one point, praising them for a great high-press response.

While in-form striker Beth Mead dazzled the audience in bursts, she was unable to take her team over the line due to Leah Williamson’s unavailability at the back. Arsenal was fortunate to go into the break only one goal behind, but it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before Chelsea started converting their chances.

Kerr did exactly that after the interval, damaging Arsenal, and the Gunners never recovered. The league leaders will have to bounce back fast since there is a WSL crown to be won, and Chelsea will be standing in their way once again.

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