A goal from Fran Kirby and a Sam Kerr brace gave Chelsea a comfortable 3-0 victory over Arsenal in the delayed 2020/21 Women’s FA Cup Final.
The Blues were in the driving seat for the entire contest and should have won by much more. Arsenal, meanwhile, were guilty of numerous sloppy errors in what was a day to forget for manager Jonas Eidevall.
Emma Hayes’ side got off to a dream start when Fran Kirby seized upon a defensive mix-up before racing through on goal and finishing confidently.
Chelsea very nearly doubled their lead soon after with Sam Kerr denied by a terrific Manuela Zinsberger save. Zinsberger was busy all half, denying Kirby a second goal (twice) and also preventing Kerr from converting a one-on-one just before the half-hour mark.
The latter struck the bar from close range too, as Chelsea harried their opponents into several mistakes.
Arsenal carved out few chances but did have a strong appeal for a penalty turned down when the ball struck Erin Cuthbert’s arm inside the box.
The one-way traffic continued in the second half with Kerr having a headed effort saved early on. She did not have to wait too much longer for her goal though, with her snapshot wrong-footing
Zinsberger and nestling in the back of the net in the 57th minute.
Arsenal offered little in response and Kirby nearly made it 3-0 20 minutes from time when her fierce effort cannoned off the top of the post.
The third goal did eventually come though, and it was the pick of the bunch. Kerr was the scorer, racing through before producing a delicious chip that left Zinsberger stranded.
The result is a big one for Hayes’ side. Not only are they FA Cup winners again, they may now have a mental edge over Women’s Super League leaders Arsenal, who beat them 3-2 on the opening day of the season.
Here are your player ratings from Wembley Stadium…
Manuela Zinsberger (GK) – 7/10 – Made a string of stunning saves in the first half to keep her side in it.
Noelle Maritz (RB) – 4/10 – Little to report offensively and Kerr enjoyed plenty of joy in her channel.
Jennifer Beattie (CB) – 3/10 – Failed to keep tabs on Kerr and Kirby. Sluggish and could have given a penalty away.
Lotte Wubben-Moy (CB) – 2/10 – Involved in the mix-up for Kirby’s opener. Shrugged off by the much smaller Kerr several times and needed to get tighter for the second goal.
Steph Catley (LB) – 5/10 – Got forward once or twice but largely a passenger.
Frida Maanum (CM) – 3/10 – Struggled to get on the ball and control the game.
Lia Walti (CM) – 3/10 – Overwhelmed by Chelsea’s pressing.
Kim Little (CM) – 4/10 – The only Arsenal player looking to make things happen. Faded after the break.
Beth Mead (RW) – 3/10 – Constantly swapping wings with McCabe but never got into the game.
Vivianne Miedema (ST) – 2/10 – Barely in the game in the first half, as she was forced to drop deeper and deeper.
Katie McCabe (LW) – 3/10 – Like Mead, she was extremely quiet.
Mana Iwabuchi – 6/10 – Injected a bit of life into proceedings.
Caitlin Foord – 5/10 – Could not change the game.
Nikita Parris – 4/10 – Booked seconds after coming on.
Simone Boye Sorensen – N/A
Ann-Katrin Berger (GK) – 6/10 – Very little to do. Bizarrely pulled up with cramp in the second half.
Millie Bright (CB) – 8/10 – Dominant in the air and distributed competently.
Jess Carter (CB) – 8/10 – Great tackle on Mead just after the break, denying her a sight at goal. Never in trouble.
Magdalena Eriksson (CB) – 7/10 – A pretty relaxing day at the office. Organised her defence.
Erin Cuthbert (RWB) – 8/10 – Fortunate not to concede a penalty. Excellent going forward and crossing was decent too. Defended heroically at times.
Sophie Ingle (CM) – 8/10 – Her calm passing gave Chelsea the perfect platform to dominate proceedings.
Melanie Leupolz (CM) – 8/10 – Tireless pressing and a creative force too. Excellent.
Guro Reiten (LWB) – 7/10 – One lovely exchange with Kirby so nearly led to a goal. Full of energy.
Jessie Fleming (RW) – 7/10 – Quieter than Kerr and Kirby but still played her role, particularly off the ball.
Sam Kerr (ST) – 9/10 – Always created trouble but missed a gilt-edge chance in the first half. Made up for that with two terrific second-half strikes. What a player.
Fran Kirby (LW) – 8/10 – Excellent finish for the game’s opener and denied another soon after by a terrific save.
Pernille Harder – 6/10 – Not a bad sub to be able to bring on is it?
Beth England – N/A
Ji So-yun – N/A
Drew Spence – N/A
For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!