Thursday, July 7, 2022

2018 FA Women’s Cup Final Preview: Arsenal v Chelsea Ladies

THE LOWDOWN

Arsenal Women play Chelsea Ladies at Wembley Stadium on Saturday in the 2018 Women’s FA Cup Final. It’s a repeat of the 2016 final, which the Gunners won 1-0 thanks to a blistering strike from Danielle Carter. Arsenal were the underdogs on that day and they will be again on Saturday evening, with Chelsea chasing down a domestic double.

However, the Gunners have plenty of pedigree in showpiece finals. Many of the current squad were part of that famous victory two years ago and they also edged past Manchester City in the final of the Continental Cup back in March. Arsenal are chasing a 15th FA Cup triumph, which is quite comfortably a record (Southampton are the second most successful club in the competition’s history with 8 FA Cups). Arsenal have competed in 15 of the last 25 finals.

Chelsea will offer incredibly stiff opposition. 5 of their players were named in the PFA Team of the Year and they will almost certainly win the WSL. The Blues have more experience and pedigree since their 2016 defeat and the bookies rightly make them the favourites. While Arsenal aren’t as consistent as their London rivals, they are just as talented individually and have shown a great aptitude in the cups in recent years.

TEAM NEWS
Arsenal will be without Josy Henning, Jessica Samuelsson and Anna Filbey. Lauren James is training again, but is unlikely to be fit enough to figure, while Alex Scott is also unlikely to form part of the squad on Saturday. Dan Carter has been undergoing treatment for a slight knock, but ought to be fit.

Vivianne Miedema has been nursing injuries all season and hasn’t taken part in the last two fixtures. She has probably been saved for this match. The Gunners 3-0 defeat at Birmingham last Sunday has all but ended their Champions League qualification hopes with three games left to play, so Arsenal can channel all of their resource into this game, even if the squad is looking a little thin on the ground.

LAST TIME OUT
The teams played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Meadow Park a few weeks ago. Football writers and players player of the year Fran Kirby gave the Blues the lead, before Beth Mead equalised with a wonderful solo strike.

Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

You don't get much more direct than this Beth Mead goal! ?

Posted by The FA WSL on Monday, 2 April 2018

PLAYER TO WATCH
Thirteen months ago, Louise Quinn was part of a Notts County squad that was very suddenly told one morning that the club was to fold. Quinn, along with her teammates, was effectively made redundant on the spot. Arsenal took the opportunity to sign the rangy Irish centre-half on a short term deal and did so.

Quinn’s performances in the Spring Series last year were enough to earn her a longer term contract. But it is during this season that the Wicklow born defender has come into her own. With Josy Henning injured and Jemma Rose leaving the club in January, Quinn has suddenly become a prominent member of the back four.

Alongside Leah Williamson, Quinn has played nearly every minute during a run that has seen the Gunners keep 10 clean sheets in 14 matches. Louise is a ‘traditional’ centre half- solid and strong in the air. But she has also been able to adjust to Montemurro’s demand for possession based football from the back. Quinn scored the 92nd minute winner in the semi-final against Everton.

Quinn and Williamson will have their work cut out keeping the likes of Fran Kirby, Ramona Bachmann, Ji and Karen Carney quiet, especially in Wembley’s wide open spaces. Most WSL games are played on non-league size pitches, so the surface size at Wembley will have an impact- particularly on the defenders.

PREDICTED LINE-UP
1.VAN VEENENDAAL, 18.EVANS, 6.WILLIAMSON, 16.QUINN, 3.MITCHELL, 20.JANSSEN, 21.VAN DE DONK, 8.NOBBS, 10.LITTLE (c), 23.MEAD, 11.MIEDEMA. Substitutes; 9.Carter, 13.Moorhouse, 15.McCabe, 17.O’Reilly, 26.Kuyken.

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match takes place at Wembley Stadium and kicks off at 5.30pm. It will be shown live on BBC One in the UK, with coverage beginning at 5.10pm. We will also be live blogging the match from Wembley Stadium here on Arseblog.

COMING UP
As well as the liveblog, we will bring you exclusive reaction from some players and the manager in the mixed zone straight after the game. Stories will be posted on Arseblog News on Saturday evening.

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kemperboyd

I am hyped. After last night this is the only thing to look forward to as an Arsenal fan. I’ve got my ticket in the fan section and am hoping everyone who joins me is up for making a lot of noise!

Leah's Left Foot

Up already at 6am, excited to be going to this game. Gonna be a tough one but I reckon a 2-1 Arsenal win. COYG!!

MkhiMouse

Is it being streamed? Trying to find a way to watch it in the USA.

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