Tomorrow’s FA cup final at Wembley sees the two teams currently at the top of the Women’s Super League pitted against each other. Arsenal come into the clash at the top of the table on 22 points after eight games with Chelsea hot on their tail just two points behind in the same number off games and six points ahead of third place Brighton. The two teams last played each other on the opening game of the season with the Gunners handing the Blues their only loss of the season so far courtesy of a Beth Mead brace in a 3-2 thriller. Tomorrows matchup also promises fireworks with both sides rampant in the league, the Blues being the top scorers in the competition after netting 27 in eight (3.4 per game) with the Gunners one behind them on 26 (3.3 per game). The Blues come into the fixture in red-hot form with them having won all of they last five games in the WSL, whilst scoring 15 and conceding just two in that time. The Gunners are also enjoying a purple patch having won four of their last five games, scoring 14 and conceding just one. Both sides are also very hard to beat with Arsenal being unbeaten this season and Chelsea being unbeaten since the first day when they lost to the Gunners. As you could imagine neither side lack firepower with all five of the leagues top scorers belonging to the sides. This includes Chelsea’s superstar striker, Sam Kerr, who’s being banging a goal in every 55 minutes in the league, meaning she has nine in eight appearances. The Gunners will be looking towards the dynamic Vivianne Miedema who has plundered six goals in her eight appearances so far this season, at a rate of every 95 minutes. It will be crucial for the Blues backline to stifle the Dutch forward’s threat if they have any chance of taking the trophy home tomorrow.
Predicted Lineup for the Blues
Meet the squad
The Gaffer– Emma HayesEmbed from Getty Images
About to enter into her 10th year as Blues’ boss, Hayes is one of the most well known figures in the Women’s game. This is largely because of her glittering trophy cabinet, with Hayes winning four WSL titles, two Women’s FA cups, two FA Women’s League Cups, a Women’s FA Community Shield and of course the UEFA Women’s Champions League last year; all with the Blues since taking over in 2012. Hayes also boasts a quite frankly ridiculous win rate of 68.24% during her 233 games in charge at Kings Meadow, winning 159 of these games and losing just 44 (or 18.88%). A master tactician and excellent person manager, it would be no surprise if Hayes were to lead her side to her third Women’s FA cup triumph tomorrow.
#30– Ann-Katrin BergerEmbed from Getty Images
Since joining from Birmingham in January of 2019, the 31 year old German international has solidified her spot as the number one of the Blues this season, making seven appearances so far this campaign. A solid three clean sheets in this time combined with an impressive 71% save percentage underpins her good form this season and shows why she has the number one spot nailed down.
#4– Millie BrightEmbed from Getty Images
One of the Blues longest serving players since joining from Doncaster in 2014, the 28 year old centre half is one of the most recognisable names in the Women’s game. This is mainly as a result of her formidable partnership with Steph Houghton on the international stage, which came to the fore when the Lionesses reached the Semi-Final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Bright has made 8 appearances so far this season and her partnership with Magdalena Eriksson was one of the major reasons the Blues won the treble last season, with the pair a major part of the Blues keeping 25 clean sheets in all competitions.
#16 [C]– Magdalena ErikssonEmbed from Getty Images
Playing as a left sided centre half, Skipper Erikkson has been an ever present so far this season in the Women’s Super League alongside the aforementioned Bright and Jess Carter. The Swede made 34 appearances last season, in which she racked up two goals and was later named in the PFA Women’s Team of the year. Her defensive prowess is highlighted by her impressive 83% tackle success rate. Her partnership with Bright and Carter is crucial to the Blues’ chance of winning at Wembley tomorrow as is her strong leadership and communication at the back.
#7– Jess CarterEmbed from Getty Images
A fullback converted into a centre half that plays in the middle of the back three in Emma Hayes 3-4-3 system, Carter has gone from strength to strength this season in her new role. Standing at 5″5 Carter’s role is not necessarily to battle against physical forwards, like perhaps Millie Bright, but more to carry the ball out of defence in possession and be an extra body to help out at the back when against the ball. Carters 89% passing accuracy shows just how adept she is in her new role in which she is the chief distributor of the defence linking, them with the midfield. Her quality shone through in last season’s Champions League, where her pinpoint cross found Pernille Harder, who headed home to secure the Blues place in their first European final. More of the same tomorrow.
#3– Guro ReitenEmbed from Getty Images
The left midfielder from Norway has proven why she should be in the starting 11 for the Blues this season, with 3 g/a in 6 starts in her new role as left sided wingback. However, it is not just her goals and assists that meant she was nominated for Women’s Super League player of the year, but also her versatility, to be able to play out wide, in the number 10 role and as a striker at times.
#22– Erin CuthbertEmbed from Getty Images
The Scottish forward has been a key performer for the Blues, whether she’s starting or coming on, she’s proven her importance with 3 assists and 1 goal in six starts, her game intelligence and decision making when going forward is what makes her such an asset to this Chelsea squad. Playing in a unfamiliar role as a right wing back in Hayes’ system Cuthbert is a crucial part of the side, proving width in attack an tucking in defensively. If the Scottish international can carry her form into tomorrows final, the Blues will have a great chance of coming home with the trophy.
#8– Melanie LeupolzEmbed from Getty Images
The 27 year-old German international signed from Bayern Munich this summer and has made a real difference to this Chelsea side, with her netting 9 goals from 34 games in her debut season as a defensive midfielder. Despite her being the more defensive of the midfield paring, calling her an enabler for Ji would be an insult to the midfielder who has a great eye for goal, proving this with her beautiful strike against in the 4th round of the FA Cup (below). Her partnership with Ji will be crucial tomorrow.Embed from Getty Images
The South Korean midfielder has made a great start to the season, with 2 assists in 5 games this season. The 30 year old maestro is blessed with a great touch, vision and weight of pass making her a thorn in the side of even the strongest teams in the world. This technical prowesses the main reason she made herself the first non-British woman footballer to reach 100 WSL appearances and also winning the Japanese’ Player of the Year on four separate occasions. The grey-haired schemer will be key to the Blues hopes of breaking don the Gunner’s defence tomorrow.
#17– Jessie FlemingEmbed from Getty Images
The 23 year old winger has nailed down her spot in the Blues front three this season thanks to three goals and two assists so far this season in seven games. This highlights attacking threat to any opponent. Her good from at the start of this season was rewarded with a new three year contract extension. Fleming completed her first season at the club last term featuring 26 times in total. The Canadian midfielder has been selected to represent her country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
#14– Fran KirbyEmbed from Getty Images
The diminutive forward has played a huge role in the Blues successes since joining in 2015 from local outfit Reading. Since then has become the Blue’s all-time leading scorer after netting a brace against Benfica in the Champions League in December to overtake former Blue Eni Aluko’s 68-goal record.irby is no doubt one of the most inspiring figures in the sport after overcoming serious illness and depression to become one of the best players in the world.She will no doubt want to carry over her impressive league form (six goals in eight games) into the final tomorrow with the hope of winning her sides third FA Cup title in their history.
#20– Sam KerrEmbed from Getty Images
The 28 year old Chelsea forward signed a deal with the blues for two and a half years in the 2019/20 season, having previously played for Perth Glory in her native Australia and gaffer Hayes first club the Chicago Red Stars. She has been on fire this season, with 9 goals in 8 games this season and 3 assists to her name. She was a finalist for the Best Women’s Player at the 2019 FIFA Football Awards as well as being a Ballon d’Or nominee. A pacy striker with a deadly finish, the Blues pin most of their hopes on their star to score tomorrow.
#9 Bethany EnglandEmbed from Getty Images
The Barnsley born striker made 33 out of 40 appearances in the 2020/21 campaign with 17 of them being starts. Despite having limited minutes last term, England still played a key part in our successful season having managed to contribute 11 goals and assist her fellow strike partners on numerous occasions. The 27 year old forward enjoyed a fruitful international break scoring two against Latvia in the Lioness’ 20-0 win. England will likely be the player Hayes calls upon to make an impact off the bench late in. the game tomorrow and what an option she is.
#19– Lauren JamesEmbed from Getty Images
Sister of the Mens team’s star Reece James, Lauren has recently come back from a serious leg injury and it’s still in speculation if she will make a return. She caught the eye of Serina Weigman, the England Women’s coach, after the forward scored 14 goals in 18 appearances for Man United. The fans hope to see her again this afternoon even if it is only off of the bench.