This is part three of our major review of Arsenal Women’s season.
Previously we have published
So onto our review of the Women’s FA Cup
This was played as a straight knockout competition open to all Women’s clubs in the country. Arsenal entered at the 4th round stage and so only had four games to reach the final which was held at Wembley with a record attendance of more than 45,000. (This compares with five rounds for the men’s FA Cup).
As for the final itself children under16 didn’t have to pay and oldies like my wife and I only paid £10 so I must give the FA credit on that score.
Yeovil Town v Arsenal 0 – 3 Feb 4 – Jordan Nobbs got us started in the 10th minute, we should have made it two moments later when Beth Mead was brought down in the box but her penalty was poor and went wide. On 40 minutes we had a second penalty following Nobbs being brought down. This time Dani Xarter stepped up but her effort was saved by Megan Walsh. We did go two up before the break Beth Mead doing in open play what she failed to do from the spot. Unfortunately this was her last act and she was unable to continue after the break. Despite massive Arsenal pressure the only further goal came from a Yeovil player Miles who put the ball into her own net in the 59th minute.
Arsenal v Millwall Lionesses 1 – 0 Feb 18 – A cagey game with few chances, most coming to Arsenal. The only goal came following a period of pressure where Dani Carter went narrowly wide then had a shot deflected over the bar, Louise Quinn also came close from Jordan Nobbs corner. Beth Mead scored the only goal in th 33rd minute turning away from her marker and beating the Millwall keeper Sarah Quantrill. Kim Little marked her return from injury coming on for the last 15 minutes.
Arsenal v Charlton Women 5 – 0 Mar 25 – We got off to an ideal start when the referee awarded a penalty to us in the 4th minute, Kim Little making no mistake with the kick. Despite almost continuous pressure Charlton managed to repel our efforts for the remainder of the first half and well into the second. In the 56th minute we doubled our lead when Heather O’Reilly raced through and slotted home. Four minutes later substitute Vivianne Miedema then scored with her first touch and late on further goals from Dani Carter and Jordan Nobbs completed the scoring.
Semi-final Everton Ladies v Arsenal 1 – 2 Apr 15 – A rare away game for me and a first for my daughter and grand-daughter who are based near Bolton. Do Ladies play football asked Mollie (8) and I was able to assure here that not only they did but quite well. We weren’t anywhere near our best, too many passes not finding their intended recipients and we weren’t quite all on the same wavelength.
Nevertheless we were the more threatening from the start and our pressure paid off when Dani Carter put us ahead in the 25th minute from a really good team move. Dominique Janssen picked out Heather O’Reilly on the right wing with a brilliant pass, Heather drove to the by-line and put in a perfect cross for Dani Carter who made no mistake from six yards. We continued to dominate the game but only created half chances through the remainder of the first half. Our domination continued into the second half until from one of the few Everton attacks Olivia Quinn was adjudged to have been brought down inside the penalty area. There probably was a foul but I am still unsure if it was inside the area, anyway my opinion counted for nothing and Chloe Kelly scored from the spot.
Despite much Arsenal pressure the game seemed destined for extra time until in added on time we won a corner, Jordan Nobbs put it into the six yard box and Louise Quinn was there to head it home with about the last touch of the game. We were going to Wembley for a record 16th time and seeking our 14th win in the competition.
Final Arsenal v Chelsea 1 – 3 May 5 –
A fairly cagey start by both teams but our shape didn’t look right and wasn’t enabling us to make the most of the large Wembley pitch. Chelsea were better organised from the start and always the more threatening. We had our moments in the first half but not as many as Chelsea who were always the more threatening and more likely to score. I can’t remember us having any clear cut chances in the first half which finished goalless.
Chelsea opened the scoring soon into the second half through Bachmann who was most impressive all game and when she added a second on the hour mark it looked all over. At this point Chelsea were all over us and it looked as though we were in for a complete pasting. Somehow we held on until the 73rd minute when Vivianne Miedema scored a goal to raise hopes of an Arsenal comeback. They proved to be very short lived as Emma Kirby restored the Chelsea two goal advantage just three minutes later.
Chelsea then controlled the game and managed to waste most of the remaining time in the corners or elsewhere and we were basically unable to get the ball in any meaningful part of the pitch. We were out muscled, out fought and out thought from the first kickoff and it was a thoroughly sobering lesson in how far we have to go to regain top spot in this country. We should take some comfort though in the fact that we did reach the final.
In the final part of the series we will review all the members of the team, and look forward to a reorganised campaign next season.
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