Chelsea and Arsenal prepare the final for a rivalry that will define the season

Chelsea’s Bethany England (left) and Arsenal’s Beth Mead were on the scoreboard in their respective FA Women’s Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

Emma Hayes always dreamed of leading alongside her at Wembley, but now it is becoming commonplace, and she has the final she wanted in 2021.

Hayes’ Chelsea take on Arsenal in the women’s FA Cup final on Sunday 5 December in a season-defining rivalry.

Sunday, Chelsea achieved a 3-0 win over injury-depleted Manchester City, who had lifted the trophy in the last two years.

Right after, Hayes, whose team won the Women’s Super League last season and is second in 2021-22, said he wanted the league leaders Arsenal in the national stadium masterpiece.

“I want the Gunners in the final, it would be good, a nice derby, fill Wembley,” said the Chelsea manager.

Hayes granted her wish a few hours later when two goals from Beth Mead and another from current England captain Leah Williamson helped. Arsenal beat Brighton 3-0.

For the neutrals, too, it is the final dreamed of between the two current powers of English women’s football.

Arsenal have won all five of their WSL games this season, while Chelsea’s only problem was a 3-2 away loss to the Gunners in a first-weekend thriller at Emirates Stadium.

In their five WSL games, Arsenal have scored 19 goals, with Chelsea just behind with 17. By comparison, no other team has scored more than 10.

Chelsea takes advantage of Man City injuries

City had won the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons, but injuries to high-profile players, including captain Steph Houghton, current FIFA Best Player Lucy Bronze and goalkeepers Ellie Roebuck and Karen Bardsley, left them behind. his threadbare equipment.

Third-choice goalkeeper Karima Taieb should have done better with Chelsea’s first two goals, scored by Erin Cuthbert and Melanie Leupolz, before substitute Bethany England headed in a final third.

“It was a very professional performance,” Hayes said. “Our mentality was fantastic, the way we pushed, we pushed back, we had a strong desire to do the performance that was needed.

“It is a team that once again shows its coach that it wants to keep improving.”

Hayes has been in charge of Chelsea since 2012, winning the WSL four times, two League Cups and the FA Cup, at Wembley, twice, in 2015 and 2018.

“I’m delighted to be there,” added Hayes, 45. “It’s the only day of the week that I just have to drive down the road to a football stadium.

“I’m over the moon that it happens to be the biggest and the home of English football.

“When I was a kid, I always wanted to be there and never thought I would be there as a coach, but now I have succeeded several times.”

Emma hayes
Emma Hayes has twice won the FA Cup with Chelsea: they beat Notts County 1-0 in the 2015 final and Arsenal 3-1 three years later.

‘I was hoping people were afraid of us’

While Hayes knows the route to Wembley, it will be a new experience for Jonas Eidevall, the Swede who became Arsenal boss in June.

This is classified as the FA Cup 2020-21 after the coronavirus pandemic halted the tournament for three months to extend into this campaign, with Eidevall in charge of the 5-1 quarter-final victory over Tottenham in September and the comfortable victory over Brighton. .

Arsenal have won the competition a record 14 times, but not since 2016 when they beat Chelsea 1-0, although Hayes’ side got their revenge two years later with a 3-1 win.

After the Gunners booked their spot at Wembley, Eidevall was asked what her reaction was to Hayes’ comments that she wanted to play alongside him.

“I was hoping people were scared of us,” the 38-year-old joked.

“It’s a bit surreal [to be going to Wembley]but you couldn’t wish for better and we can compete so soon for a title, it’s just fantastic.

“I couldn’t ask for a better performance or group of staff. The foundation was there when I entered, so I didn’t have to build anything new, just something existing.

“We need our strongest team against Chelsea and everyone wants to play the final at Wembley. It will be a great occasion.”

Jonas Eidevall
Jonas Eidevall’s first game in English football was a 3-2 WSL win over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in September.

‘Two staunch rivals’

Former Leeds forward Lucy Ward, in a BBC comment, said: “It will be a real showdown, they are two staunch rivals and it will be a really good match.”

“The Arsenal girls enjoy playing for Jonas’ team and the way he plays benefits the best players, which is why they are doing so well.

“It has changed a lot, the intensity, the high pressure, the enthusiasm and their personality shines through on the field.”

Former England defender Fern Whelan felt that Arsenal and Chelsea have been the standout teams this season. “You have to say that,” he said. “You look at Manchester City and they are not doing as well as usual so it has to be Arsenal and Chelsea.”

“It’s great to see the competitiveness between them and how long it continues.”

The FA Women’s Cup final will be broadcast live on BBC Television on December 5, starting at 14:00 GMT.

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