Ladies FA Cup Quarter final. Arsenal v Chelsea
By Andrew Crawshaw
A report from a sunny but windy BorehamWood ground. Attendance 964
Kelly Smith (C), Emma Byrne (GK), Alex Scott, Emma Mitchell, CaseyyEmma Stoney, Vicky Losada, Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Leah Williamson, Natalia De Pablos Sanchon, Jemma Rose
Arsenal and Chelsea were the two ‘form’ teams from the previous round, Arsenal winning 7-0 and Chelsea 6-0 so the supporters could reasonably expect goals.
Chelsea got off to much the better start pressing Arsenal back towards their own goal through the opening exchanges and generally being more physical, winning all of the 50/50 contests (and most of the 30/70s as well).
Their dominance led to the first goal. Emma Mitchell was beaten on the right hand side and a Chelsea cross went behind for a corner. The corner was taken by Jim So-Yun and headed in by Katie Chapman. One Nil to Chelsea.
On the half hour mark it was two nil. Gemma Davison rounded Ema Mitchell again on the right hand side and scored a solo effort in from a narrow angle at the near post. Emma Byrne will probably feel she could have done better.
By this stage Chelsea were far the better team, Arsenal weren’t mounting anything in the way of coherent attacks and were short of ideas.
In added on time at the end of the first half Arsenal got one back, Emma Mitchell scoring from the left hand by-line. In truth it might have been intended as a cross but it went over the keeper into the top of the net. An easier half time talk for Pedro Losada than it would have been.
Tho changes made at half time, both of our Spanish ladies, Vicky Losada and Natalia De Pablos Sanches being withdrawn and Lianne Sanderson and Chioma Ubogagu coming on. Clearly the aim being to introduce some more power and speed and increase our attacking threat, which to be honest, had been pretty much non-existent in the first half.
It was a much brighter start to the second half with Arsenal looking far more lively. Chelsea weathered the early storm and re-established their dominance and nearly extended their lead with a fierce shot coming back off the bar.
Chelsea made substitutions in the middle of the second half as they kept control of the game by fair means and foul. They wasted time at every opportunity and committed niggley pushes and pulls all game but never quite enough for the referee’s whistle.
In the end Arsenal weren’t good enough and only had two or three shots on target all game and relinquished their Cup in a very disappointing and tame fashion. Chelsea progress to the Semi-Final. Unless Arsenal find more cohesion quickly it could be a long season fighting for scraps rather than honours.
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