Women's FA Cup: Chelsea and Arsenal to meet in final in season-defining rivalry

Last update on. From the section Women's Football
Chelsea's Bethany England (left), and Arsenal's Beth Mead scored in their Women's FA Cup semifinal matches on Sunday

Emma Hayes has always longed to lead her team at Wembley. But it's becoming more common now that she is able to do so. She also has the final in 2021.

Hayes' Chelsea will take on Arsenal in Sunday's Women's FA Cup Final, on Sunday 5 December in a match that is expected to be the highlight of the season.

Chelsea won 3-0 against Manchester City, an injury-depleted side that had previously lifted the trophy in two previous years.

Hayes, whose women's team won the Women's Super League in 2017 and are second in 2021-22 said immediately that she would like Arsenal to be in the final at the national stadium.

The Chelsea boss stated, "I want to see the Gunners in final - that'd be nice, a nice small derby, fill Wembley up,"

Hayes received her wish just a few hours later when Arsenal beat Brighton 3-0 with two goals from Beth Mead, and one from Leah Williamson, the current England captain.

It is also the dream final for the neutral between the current two powerhouses of the English women's game.

Arsenal have won five of their WSL matches, while Chelsea lost 3-2 to Arsenal in an opening-weekend thriller at Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal has scored 19 goals in their five WSL matches. Chelsea is just behind with 17. Comparatively, only Arsenal has scored more than 10 goals.

Chelsea takes advantage of Man City injuries

City had won the FA Cup three times in the last four seasons. However, injuries to high-profile players such as Steph Houghton (capitol), reigning Fifa Best Woman's Player Lucy Bronze, and goalkeepers Ellie Roebuck, and Karen Bardsley left their squad without a strong team.

Karima Taieb, third-choice goalkeeper, should have done better with Chelsea’s first two goals. They were scored by Melanie Leupolz and Erin Cuthbert. Substitute Bethany England was on the scoreboard in a third.

Hayes said, "It was an extremely professional performance." "Our mentality was amazing, the way that we pressed, counter-pressed and pressed, it was a strong desire for the performance that was required.

"It's a team which again shows their manager that they want to improve."

Since 2012, Hayes has managed Chelsea. He won the WSL four more times, two League Cups, and the FA Cup at Wembley on two occasions in 2015.

Hayes, 45, said that she was "delighted" to be there. "It's one day in the week that I have to only go down the road to a soccer stadium.

"I am overjoyed that it happens to be the largest and most prominent home for English football.

"As a child, I wanted to be there. I never thought that I would become a coach. But I have been able to achieve it several times."

Emma Hayes won the FA Cup twice with Chelsea, beating Notts County by 1-0 in 2015 and Arsenal 3-1 three-years later.

"I hoped people would be afraid about us,"

Hayes is familiar with the route to Wembley. But Jonas Eidevall (the Swede who was appointed Arsenal boss in June) will have to learn it for the first time.

After the coronavirus pandemic, the tournament was halted for three months. Eidevall took over for the 5-1 quarterfinal win over Tottenham and the comfortable victory against Brighton.

Arsenal won the competition 14 times. However, not since 2016, when they beat Chelsea by 1-0. Hayes' side, however, got revenge with a 3-1 win two years later.

Eidevall was questioned by Hayes about his comments that she wanted him to play her side after the Gunners had booked their Wembley location.

The 38-year old joked, "I hoped people would fear of us,"

It's surreal to be going to Wembley, but it is a great experience. We get to compete for titles so early - it's amazing.

"I could not have asked for a better staff or playing group. It was already there when I arrived so I didn't have to create anything.

"We need to be the strongest team against Chelsea, and everyone wants to play at Wembley. It will be an unforgettable occasion."

Jonas Eidevall was a newcomer to English football when he won the 3-2 WSL victory over Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

'Two bitter rivals'

Lucy Ward, a former Leeds striker, stated on BBC commentary: "It will be a real matchup, they are two bitter rivals, and it'll a really great game.

"The Arsenal girls love playing in Jonas’ team, and the way he plays benefits all the better players. That's why they do so well.

"He has changed a lot. The intensity, high pressing, enthusiasm, and his personality shine through on the pitch."

Fern Whelan, an ex-defender for England, felt that Chelsea and Arsenal have been the best teams this season. She said, "You have to admit that." "Manchester City is not doing as well, so it must be Arsenal or Chelsea.

"It's wonderful to see their competitiveness and may it continue for a long time."

The final of the Women's FA Cup will be broadcast live on BBC Television, starting at 14:00 GMT.