Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1
On the morning of Chelsea’s first Continental Cup final, Emma Hayes’s sister texted her with the Brian Clough quote: "I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business, but I’m in the top one"2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app. “Well, I’m there today,” said Hayes. “I’ll take that.”
Hayes is such a fan of Clough that she spent the morning having her photo taken with the many pictures of Clough and Peter Taylor plastered on every surface of the City Ground, and when she saw the dates of Forests’ European Cup triumphs pasted across the roof it reminded her of the only trophy she is yet to win as manager. By Hayes’s own admission, Chelsea were comfortably the second-best team here - “the better team did not win the game, [but] the most resilient team,” she said - and were it not for the heroics of their goalkeeper, Ann-Katrin Berger, the trophy would be travelling to a different part of London.
Arsenal, for their part, had been warned to stop the Bethany England-Sam Kerr partnership. On 92 minutes, they saw why. Kerr’s natural athleticism had torn a hole in the Arsenal back line and England skidded in at the back post, via Erin Cuthbert, to hand Chelsea their first-ever Continental Cup.
Six minutes earlier, the Arsenal head coach, Joe Montemurro, surged from his technical area and let out the kind of roar that can only signify the catharsis of watching his side draw level with four minutes to go, as Leah Williamson diverted the ball pinballing inside the area into the bottom corner from close range.
Before then, Berger had comfortably earned her corn for, if nothing else, her drop at full stretch to prod away the Vivianne Miedema header, deep into the second half, that dropped menacingly to roll along the line. Perhaps no-one will ever know how she sprang into position to keep Miedema out at the near post with just eight minutes to go - a save with her stomach that necessitated treatment.
Arsenal are knee-deep in injuries - without Beth Mead, Swiss midfielder Lia Walti and Scotland’s Kim Little - but despite their endeavour and control, there was an angst in front of goal that was so atypical of a player of Miedema’s class. Miedema lacked her usually instinctive menace: she worked hard on the ball but that moment of magic was not forthcoming. It is not like her to snatch wide with the frequency she did here.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“A lot of coaches say: we should have, could have, would have,” said Montemurro. “But in the end, you have to do it. We didn’t do it. We created chances, we created opportunities. In the end, they scored the ones they created and we didn’t. This team will keep fighting - we showed that today. It could have been a different story. Look at the mental attitude to come back, to dominate, to actually really have the ball and completely dominate a team that did what they did to us at Borehamwood.”
That was the last time these sides met, when Chelsea dismantled these opponents so ruthlessly that they had been three goals to the good within 20 minutes. It felt that Arsenal’s chances of getting anything here rested not only on whether they could banish any lingering ghosts from the day Jordan Nobbs spent the best part of an hour chasing Sophie Ingle’s shadow and England and Kerr had tied the Gunners defence in knotts, but, more crucially, whether they had learned.
That it took Kerr just 51 seconds to record Chelsea’s first shot on target - shooting low at Manuela Zinsberger - suggested otherwise. For the seven minutes before Chelsea found their breakthrough they were firmly in control.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appThen England was on the scene, opening her account three minutes earlier than she did in that 4-1 win just over a month ago. It was not the tidiest goal she will ever score, scuffing the initial finish before turning to prod home her second chance, but Arsenal will be aggrieved that they did not deal with either Jonna Andersson’s initial lifted cross from wide, or Maren Mjelde, left free at the back post to nod Andersson's ball into England’s vicinity.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt was testament to what the game could have become at that point that Chelsea Women’s official Twitter account marked the goal with the words, “We’re up and running”. The next 10 minutes were a thrilling back-and-forth before settling into a concerted spell of Arsenal pressure as Berger denied Louise Quinn, Nobbs and Miedema. Miedema and Caitlin Foord’s industry out wide, with Danielle van de Donk linking in the middle, caused a below-par Chelsea no end of issues.
“It isn’t always about being the best team, possessing the ball the most,” Hayes concluded. “No-one in our camp thought this would be a dominant Chelsea performance. Far from it. To win the game knowing that - that they dominated, outpossessed us, outfootballed us - for me, shows what a great team we really are.”
Chelsea (4-1-3-2): Berger; Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson; Ingle; Cuthbert, Ji So-yun (Thorisdottir 76), Reiten; Kerr (Spence 92), England
Subs not used: Telford (g), Blundell, Carter, Cooper, Bachmann
Arsenal (4-3-3): Zinsberger; Evans, Schnaderbeck, Quinn, McCabe; Nobbs, Williamson, Roord; Foord, van de Donk, Miedema
Subs not used: Peyraud-Magnin (g), Maier, Grant, Filis, Mace
Referee:2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app Helen Conley
83 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
Arsenal really need to go for it now. Chelsea are in defensive mode, sitting deep.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appA cross comes in from the right and Miedema should score. On the half-volley she nails it towards goal from just yards out but Berger gets across to put it out for a corner. What a performance from the keeper! She has stayed down again. Berger saved that with her midrift!
80 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
Another collision now! Quinn stays down after accidentally being stood on. No foul given.
Chelsea have now boxed Arsenal in their half. Arsenal finally break out through Nobbs but Arsenal fail to take their chances again. Foord has a chance to volley at goal but instead tried to square it. Chance is gone!
68 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
Nobbs attempts a cross from deep but Berger comes out to claim it. Arsenal are now starting to snatch at chances as the final 20 minutes approach. There is still plenty of time left!
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appNobbs picks up the ball in the box, turns and slams it wide of the post. Another chance missed.
62 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
T2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围apphe corner is eventually cleared away. Chelsea are struggling to break free here.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appNobbs breaks down the left and finds Miedema but her shot is tamely blocked away. The ball comes back to the striker but she pulls her shot just wide. More chances going begging for Arsenal!
47 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
C2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围apphelsea win a free kick and have a chance to score straight away. A cross is chipped in but the header goes straight at the keeper. Arsenal were dozing a little there.
Arsenal then attack through Foord who puts in an excellent cross but Van de Donk cannot get on the end of it.
40 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
Reiten plays a perfectly weighted through ball to Kerr who gets a shot away but it is well saved. The ball comes out to Ji who hammers it into the back of Kerr! Not ideal.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appArsenal counter and Miedema plays in Foord who slams her shot into the side netting. Clear chances at both ends but no goal.
38 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
J2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appi is fouled in the centre-circle after playing a nice one-two. Chelsea are on the attack and break into the box, Cuthbert goes down and there are some very minor appeals for a penalty.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appArsenal use the opportunity to counter but Chelsea regain the ball.
33 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
Evans puts in a dangerous cross which is put out for a corner. Chelsea clear but Van de Donk puts another ball back in. Chelsea once again clear. Some sustained pressure being built by Arsenal.
Nobbs puts in a dangerous ball but Berger comes out and punches it away - good keeping!
19 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
McCabe tries to play in Van de Donk but Bright reads it well and clears.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appFoord is becoming more prominent, dropping deep to pick up the ball. The ball is then played down the left and Miedema tries an audacious dink which Berger can only tip it over the bar for a corner.
12 min: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
Arsenal put in a cross and this time Chelsea do not deal with. Williamson wins the ball and she is brought down - no penalty is given! Big call.
Another cross comes in and Quinn heads it towards goal and only a fantastic save keeps it out! Good response from Arsenal so far.
Arsenal have won this competition five times!
There have only been eight years of this competition prior to this season but Arsenal have come out victorious on five occasions. Chelsea have never claimed this trophy, with Manchester City winning it on the other three occasions.
Some extra motivation for the team in blue perhaps?
The path to the final
C2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围apphelsea overcame Aston Villa and then Manchester United to reach the final, after finishing top in the group stage of this competition.
Arsenal also topped their pool, before beating Reading and then last year's champions Manchester City.
These two sides are certainly very well matched!
Who will get their hands on the trophy?
Two of the WSL's premier teams face off today in the hope of adding some silverware to the trophy cabinet. Chelsea currently sit in second place in the league while Arsenal are just three points behind them in third.
The form guide would suggest that Chelsea are slight favourites, in part due the fact they have won four league games on the bounce. The last time these two teams met in January, Chelsea ran out comprehensve winners putting four past Arsenal with Sam Kerr playing a starring role.
That being said, Arsenal will be confident they can redeem themselves after an under-par showing last time out against their London rivals. However, Arsenal will be without Kim Little, Lia Walti, Beth Mead and Katrine Veje through injury making the challenge even tougher.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appArsenal head coache Joe Montemurro told the Arsenal club website:
“We’ve played them a few times and studied them a lot, so I really do believe that it’s up to us and whether we settle early and play our game.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“I really do believe that it’s up to us. We need to get into our rhythm and tempo as quick as we can, and then it’ll take care of itself.
“It’s not unknown about Chelsea and the way they play. They are more direct. They are a team that obviously use their power to go forward early and we need to be smarter in the way we set ourselves up when we do lose the ball.
“We don’t want to lose sight of what we want to do, and the more we have the ball, the less they’ll have the ball and the more chances we’ll create to go forward and score goals.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appArsenal have clinched the League Cup five out of a possible eight times, as pointed out by Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes to the Chelsea club website.
"They have had the trophy the most amount of times. For them they have got history of winning trophies and they’ve got a history of winning that trophy and they will feel that way too.
"This is two top teams, both have got match-winners in their own right, we’ve just played well enough the last two games to be victors, but Arsenal playing well can do the same too.
"We have to realise there is a team that will come full-throttle and will want to prove themselves after the last two games we’ve played them this season."
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appA close game should await.