The two best teams in the Women’s Super League met at Wembley for the Women’s FA Cup final, but it was Chelsea who had the last laugh over a misfiring Arsenal outfit
Instead of an open sewer carpeted by broken glass, crushed cans and human excrement, Wembley Way was a portrait of multi-racial harmony and happy families.
On the pitch, instead of shooting fish in a barrel like England’s worthless 20-0 win over Latvia last week, at least this was a contest of sorts – although Chelsea were markedly superior from start to finish and Arsenal were well-beaten.
If Aussie striker Sam Kerr’s two goals and Fran Kirby’s virtuoso display stole the show, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes became the first lady of English football by completing a domestic treble in 2021.
Watched by her three-year-old son Harry among a 40,942 crowd, Hayes said: “We’ve painted Wembley blue – the front two were out of this world and I told Fran it was her best game for Chelsea.
“She is a national treasure – look after her. She is at her best when she plays off a main striker and floats in those key areas, and she ran the show. Everything she did was so dynamic.
“And Sam only stepped off a plane from Sydney on Thursday. As far as I’m concerned , she is the best striker in the world.
“To think we are Treble winners is an amazing achievement, but we have built this team over a long period of time and today we showed why we are champions.”
After adding a third FA Cup to her four Women’s Super League titles with Chelsea, Hayes is the most successful manager in the club’s history – male or female – at domestic level.
Precisely 100 years after women were banned from playing football by the Ministry of Chauvinism, Chelsea took just three minutes to harness the sense of occasion, England international Kirby surging clear to beat Gunners keeper Manuela Zinsberger emphatically.
Kirby could have scored a hat-trick inside the opening 25 minutes and when Kerr, brushing Lotte Wubben-Moy aside like a speck of dandruff, scooped her shot against the bar, Chelsea must have feared the Wembley gods were conspiring against them.
But 12 minutes after the break, Kerr cut into the box and squeezed her shot inside Zinsberger’s near post to give the Blues the breathing space they deserved.
Kirby, earlier wiped out by Wubben-Moy with inexplicable impunity, rattled the woodwork again before Kerr supplied the crowning glory with a sublime chip over the stranded Zinsberger 13 minutes from time.
Just about the only thing that went wrong for Chelsea was the injury England defender Millie Bright collected as she picked up the trophy. The lid flew off, hit her in the face and left her with a cut forehead.
Head coach Jonas Eidevall gathered his players in a post-match huddle and told them: “I understand everyone is disappointed because we can play so much better.
“But we have failed before and risen again – we have an opportunity to do that against Barcelona.”