Arsenal blow women’s FA Cup final against Chelsea | OneFootball
Arsenal blow women’s FA Cup final against Chelsea
Arsenal put in a very poor performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup final, losing 3-0 on what was a disappointing afternoon at Wembley.
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Arsenal players enter a huddle prior to the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Wembley Stadium on December 05, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Taking place on a date specifically chosen to mark 100 years since the FA banned women’s football, a ban that lasted 50 years, the postponed 2020/21 FA Cup final was played at Wembley on Sunday between Arsenal and Chelsea women.
Arsenal line-up: Zinsberger, Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Catley, Walti, Maanum, Little, McCabe, Miedema, Mead.
Arsenal got the game going, playing from right to left under the famous arches but they were behind within three minutes as Fran Kirby slotted home. Chelsea’s high press had caught Arsenal napping, giving them an uphill battle from the start, and a taste of what was to come.
Three minutes later, it could have been two but for Manuela Zinsberger producing a great save from Sam Kerr who had got in on goal. Arsenal were struggling to get a foothold in the game.
By 40 minutes, Chelsea could have been about five up and would have been had it not been for the Arsenal keeper and some poor finishing.
Chelsea should have had a penalty, too, but as Arsenal grew into the last five minutes of the game, they had a great call for a spot-kick themselves. The ball clearly hit the arm of a Chelsea defender on the floor as Beth Mead tried to dribble round her.
It was not going well, but a few minutes towards the end of the half hinted, erroneously, at Arsenal finally waking up. Personal mistakes littered the team and nobody seemed able to pass the ball where they wanted. They just couldn’t seem to get their heads into the game.
Still, they were only one down at the break and very much in the game.
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Beth Mead of Arsenal complains to Referee Helen Conley during the Vitality Women’s FA Cup Final between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Wembley Stadium on December 05, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Arsenal were somewhat better in the second half, but it made little difference.
Chelsea were two up after 56 minutes with Kerr taking advantage of Arsenal’s slow defence to score on the counter.
Jonas Eidevall made his first change, bringing on Mana Iwabuchi for Lia Walti, not long after and her introduction seemed to spark a little life into the Gunners, for a minute or two at least.
His second sub came shortly after when Jen Beattie was replaced by Cailin Foord with just 20 minutes remaining and three goals required. That was almost four when Chelsea smashed the post two minutes later.
With 15 minutes remaining, Kerr put the game well out of reach for Arsenal with Chelsea’s third and her second. It was impossible to deny they deserved it and Kerr’s finish was worthy of winning any final, chipping Zinsberger with ease.
Arsenal will have much to reflect on after this game, most importantly why they were a total shambles for the vast majority of the game.
Jonas Eidevall after the match [via Arseblog]
On Chelsea starting in a 442 formation and whether it was a surprise… It didn’t take me by surprise, we see that Chelsea constantly switch between formations in games between a 442ish shape and sometimes a 343ish so we had strategies to deal with both of those formations. We knew it would be one of the two and that it might change during the game, so it wasn’t down to that that we weren’t able to deal with them better.
On being exposed by the pace of Chelsea’s forwards… I don’t think it’ necessarily down to running duels with the strikers, i think we were dropping way too late and we weren’t good enough at recognising the moment- that’s one part we need to do better and correct as a team in this game. We were doing that better in the second half but in the second half we lost the ball at very, very bad times and that was a bad balance for us, in those moments, Chelsea exposed us on the counterattack. In the first half, they created opportunities from structured open play because we were dropping too late and we were not able to press the player with the ball. In the second half, it was more down to losing the ball at very, very poor times and being exposed. What you have to give to Chelsea is that the players they have upfront, if they get time and space and run against you, they are world class. You can’t let Chelsea do that that many times like they did today and expect a good result.
On Jordan Nobbs being an unused sub… It’s all about the balance in midfield and, of course, you want to have many different scenarios and there are different scenarios as a fan and it’s impossible to think about all of them. We wanted to go for it and see if we could take the game to overtime but we still needed substitutions to spare at the end because of different players loading going into the game. Jordan Nobbs is a class player, she’s really, really important for us. I understand that she is disappointed that she didn’t get on the pitch today my only message can be that I really value Jordan as a player and she will be very important in December as well.
On what he said to his players at full-time… I don’t think we have a constructive learning in this moment, what I said is that I understand that everybody is very, very disappointed because we can play so much better than we played in this game but it wasn’t down to effort, they tried to give everything on the pitch. The quality for us as a team was not there today.
I also told them that, at times like this, everyone will say we are bad and they think we are at the bottom but we need to believe as a group and we all have family, friends and loved ones in the stadium today and we’ve been through difficult years with covid without spectators. As a group we can support each other and the fans have been supporting us in good times and bad times, so let’s get some energy from them and remember that we have failed before and risen again and we will do that one more time and we have a great chance to do that against Barcelona on Thursday.
On what’s needed to get through other big games coming up… I wouldn’t necessarily frame it s a big game problem but it’s obviously an issue when we play opposition that gives us less time with the ball because they have very good players who press us in a very intense way. We need to be prepared, to be better positioned, to have better quality in our passing game to exploit those spaces. That’s what we need to develop so we can impose our style on any opponent and it’s clear today that we need to be better at that.
On Lia Walti motioning for the midfield to get closer to her during the first half… We could have been better positioned in the first half. Chelsea make it difficult because they are dynamic with the way they press, they shift and sometimes they press with their front two and sometimes they just press with one which makes it important to recognise the formation we are playing with in our build up phase and where are midfield players are needed and where the spaces will be. We were too slow at doing that in the first half so it’s definitely something we need to develop.
On the hurt of watching Chelsea celebrate at the end… I think the feeling when we put so much preparation into the game and when we push so hard to score a goal, even when it’s very tough during a game you still ant to do everything to try to get a goal and get into the game and after the final whistle you can’t do anything at all and you feel powerless and it’s an opportunity that has gone.
Personally, i am not a person who is driven by hatred or rivalry or motivated by seeing others celebrate. I would definitely like for my players and my staff to be standing there because that’s what they deserve. I can’t wait for another opportunity to get back here and to do everything in my power to be able to let them do that, that is my motivation.
On the players continually encouraging one another during the game… It is always a strong building point to understand that we are in this together and it’s the easiest thing in the world to point to someone else and say that you are making a mistake and to find excuses, but nothing gets better from that. We are building trust and of course, also we need to be better. But it’s good that we are reinforcing the positive things during the game and now we have to look at the reality and see there are things we need to do better.