A convincing victory at Meadow Park saw the Blues qualify for the 2022 Women’s FA Cup Final. A goal apiece from Guro Reiten and Ji So-Yun ensured Emma Hayes once again triumphed over Jonas Eidevall. More importantly, a confident and mature display ensured it finished Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea.
The Blues saw several changes from the comprehensive victory over Reading. Ann-Katrin Berger took her place in goal. Jess Carter, Aniek Nouwen and captain Millie Bright made up a familiar back 3. Niamh Charles and Guro Reiten started as wingbacks. Sophie Ingle screened the defence with Ji So-Yun and Erin Cuthbert in free midfield roles. The prolific Sam Kerr and Beth England started up-top in the 3-5-2.
Pernille Harder, Jessie Fleming and Magda Eriksson were the big names on the bench.
The Blues were sluggish early on and lucky to not be behind. Stina Blackstenius snuck in behind Nouwen but her decision-making was poor. 14 minutes marked deserved acknowledgement for Fran Kirby – currently sidelined with an illness. Miedema then drove over before England shot straight at Manuela Zinsberger.
Chelsea gradually got into the game, however, as Cuthbert’s effort was simply saved by Zinsberger. A terrific interception from Carter denied Beth Mead on the break. The game was getting stretched and resultantly, Blues nearly took advantage.Embed from Getty Images
A rare error from Leah Williamson gifted Chelsea a corner. The deep delivery caused chaos in the Arsenal box, however, neither Kerr nor England could capitalise. As a result, it was Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea at half-time. Everything was still to play for.
Beth Mead started in the thick of the action in the second half. First, her foul on Cuthbert earned a deserved yellow. She then should have put the Gunners ahead. A searching cross found the English winger who turned Aniek Nouwen well. However, she dragged her shot wide with only Berger to beat.
This proved costly as Chelsea took the lead on the 50th minute. Beth England released Guro Reiten who drove towards the Arsenal box. As defenders dropped off her, the Norwegian took advantage. She unleashed an absolute beauty, curling into the far corner past a stranded Zinsberger.Embed from Getty Images
England tried to add a goal to her assist minutes later but her effort was brilliantly stopped by Arsenal’s Austrian stopper. It wasn’t long before it was Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea, however. A terrific long pass by Millie Bright released Sam Kerr. Although the initial attack was scrambled clear, it landed at the feet of Ji. She powered a sensational strike into the top corner, off the bar.Embed from Getty Images
Harder replaced Kerr and Fleming replaced Ji as Chelsea searched for more. Zinsberger, however, denied Reiten and Ingle before England struck over to ensure it finished Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea.
London’s still Blue.
Full Time: Arsenal 0-2 ChelseaEmbed from Getty Images
Final Thoughts: Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea
A dominant performance and a deserved trip to Wembley awaits Emma Hayes’s side. Niamh Charles and Jess Carter were both brilliant, keeping Foord and Mead virtually out of the game. Berger didn’t have a proper save to make and after a sluggish start, Chelsea took control and never looked back. In truth, the noise from the Chelsea fans meant it felt like a home game.Embed from Getty Images
The Women’s FA Cup Final on 15th May 2022 represents a chance for revenge against Manchester City after the disappointing Continental Cup Final. Before that though, it’s a tough away WSL test against Tottenham.