by Andrew Crawshaw
The match is at Wembley and kicks off at 14:00 UK Time. If you can’t be there in person it is also being broadcast live in the UK on BBC1 and BTSport 1 and local carriers in most other countries in the world. If it isn’t on a local carrier then the FA Player is free, not geo-blocked and will also have the game. No excuses for not watching!
The match is between the two top teams in England. Arsenal are unbeaten in the WSL so far this season as is shown in the current league table below. Both of us have virtually identical goal scoring records and there is only one point between us with Brighton in third place two wins adrift. The big surprise has been Manchester City who have had a dismal start to the season and have only three wins so far.
|3||Brighton and Hove||8||5||0||3||12||7||5||15|
|5||West Ham United||8||3||3||2||11||10||1||12|
Our one draw came against Spurs when they parked the bus in front of a train and we couldn’t find a way through their 10 player defence. Nine games out of ten we would win in that scenario, unfortunately, this was the tenth.
Chelsea’s only loss came against us in the season opener and it would be fair to say that we were more up to match speed having already played a number of Champions League qualifying matches. On the day we were well worthy of our win with goals from Miedema and two from Beth Mead: a momentous win.
In recent Cup finals, we have played Chelsea three times (two FA cups and one League Cup), winning one and losing two.
FA Cup Final 2016 – Arsenal 1 – Chelsea 0 Danni Carter with the only goal of the game, a wonderful curling shot from the left-hand side into the top right-hand corner of the goal.
FA Cup 2018 – Chelsea 3 – Arsenal 1 A below-par performance where we were bullied throughout and never looked like getting a result. Miedema with our goal.
League Cup 2019 – Chelsea 2 – Arsenal 1 This was a game where we dominated for the majority of the time after going behind, It looked like going into extra time after a late equaliser but we were done by a smash and grab late in added-on time. Even a Chelsea supporter said to me that the better team lost after the game and he wasn’t wrong.
Where will the game be won or lost?
- As can be seen in the league table above both teams score an average of more than 3 goals a game and concede less than a goal every 2 games so there is little to chose between them on paper.
- Both teams have fantastic main strikers: Vivianne Miedema for Arsenal and Sam Kerr for Chelsea.
- In defence, the injury sustained by Leah Williamson is a big blow for Arsenal. She is one of the best in the world and her replacements although full internationals aren’t quite at the same level yet.
- In midfield, there are the two best groups of players by far in the league. Kim Little for Arsenal has been in superb form so far this season having retired from international duties. Mana Iwabuchi got 60 minutes on the pitch for Japan in midweek so is clearly recovering from her injury.
- My one area of concern is at right back where Noelle Maritz is good but, in my opinion, not really world-class. She will have to be on the top of her game if we are to win this match.
- Player attitude is the really key element to the game. Emma Hayes, the Chelsea Manager will undoubtedly have her team really fired up for this game and it will be vital for us to match their energy and speed from the start. All too often in recent years we have been dominated physically by Chelsea sometimes fairly, sometimes not (in my opinion). If we start positively, as we did in September then we have the players to hurt Chelsea.
My team prediction
Manuel Zinsberger (GK)
Noelle Maritz, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Simone Boye-Sorensen, Katie McCabe
Lia Walti, Kim Little, Frida Maanum
Nikita Parris, Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead
Lydia Williams (GK), Fran Stenson (GK), Anna Patten (Def), Jen Beattie (CB), Steph Catley (Def), Viktoria Schnaderbeck (Def), Jordan Nobbs (MF), Mana Iwabuchi (MF), Teyah Goldie (MF), Caitlin Foord (Forward), Tobin Heath (Forward)
I will be at the game and will give you updates through the game (if I can) and a report probably on Monday or Tuesday.
- Injuries Time to sack Tierney accordinig to one part of the media
- Next season starting lineup and the new Financial Fair Play rules
- The huge bias of referees is proven. PGMO and media fight back.
- 93 players rumoured to be going to Arsenal. Are the journos getting lazy?
- The home and away scandal: ignorance, or cover up?