Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea: Holders to face Man City in FA Cup final
Chelsea will face Manchester City in a second domestic cup final this season after they saw off league rivals Arsenal in a feisty Women’s FA Cup semi-final at Meadow Park.
There were few clear-cut chances in the first half – Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema coming close with an effort that flew over the bar – but Chelsea were clinical after the break.
Guro Reiten broke the deadlock with a stunning effort from the edge of the box, before Ji So-yun fired one in off the underside of the crossbar 11 minutes later.
Arsenal could have gone 1-0 up moments before Reiten’s opener when Beth Mead spun away in the box but dragged her shot inches wide.
Instead, cup holders Chelsea threatened to extend their lead, with Sophie Ingle and Reiten forcing smart saves from goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger, before striker Bethany England fired one over the bar.
Both sets of supporters were in fine voice – an indication of the growing rivalry between these sides, who occupy the top two spots in the Women’s Super League.
It was the fourth meeting between the sides this season, with Arsenal’s only victory coming on the WSL’s opening day at Emirates Stadium, while Chelsea won last season’s delayed FA Cup final at Wembley in December.
Fourteen-time FA Cup winners Arsenal have not won the competition since 2016, while Chelsea are aiming to win a third title in five years.
Blues clinical when it mattered
Barely anything has separated these two teams this season, with Chelsea leading the WSL by just a point.
The last meeting between them, an exhilarating league encounter at Kingsmeadow in February, ended in a goalless draw.
This time, the first half was a little cagey with both sides trying to test the nerve of the other.
Arsenal had started well – pressing from the front and asking questions of Chelsea with runs in behind.
Mead and Stina Blackstenius were not able to pick out Miedema with a few cut-backs and the hosts finished the half without a shot on target, after inviting some pressure from Chelsea towards the end.
The Blues came out the blocks fast in the second half, though, and put away their chances when it mattered.
That stalled Arsenal’s early momentum and Chelsea went on to dominate, going 2-0 up just after the hour mark.
Emma Hayes will now seek to guide Chelsea to the completion of a successful FA Cup defence against an in-form Manchester City side in the final on 15 May at Wembley.
Arsenal, who have missed out on two domestic trophies this season, will be hoping to regain top spot in the WSL, needing to close that one-point gap with just three games remaining.
- 13WältiSubstituted forMaanumat 64′minutes
- 9MeadBooked at 48mins
- 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forParrisat 71′minutes
- 19FoordSubstituted forHeathat 71′minutes
- 10JiSubstituted forFlemingat 79′minutes
- 22CuthbertBooked at 65mins
- 20KerrSubstituted forHarderat 72′minutes
- Rebecca Welch
Match ends, Arsenal Women 0, Chelsea Women 2.
Second Half ends, Arsenal Women 0, Chelsea Women 2.
Offside, Arsenal Women. Vivianne Miedema tries a through ball, but Beth Mead is caught offside.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Katie McCabe.
Attempt missed. Nikita Parris (Arsenal Women) header from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Beth Mead with a cross.
Attempt blocked. Bethany England (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jessie Fleming.
Attempt missed. Bethany England (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Aniek Nouwen.
Foul by Jessica Carter (Chelsea Women).
Nikita Parris (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Millie Bright (Chelsea Women).
Kim Little (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Bethany England (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Stephanie-Elise Catley (Arsenal Women).
Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal Women).
Attempt blocked. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tobin Heath.
Jessie Fleming (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal Women).
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Jessie Fleming replaces Ji So-Yun.
Offside, Arsenal Women. Lotte Wubben-Moy tries a through ball, but Nikita Parris is caught offside.