In a single extraordinary weekend, Chelsea’s men AND women reached their respective FA Cup finals. Both won their semis 2-0 – the women defeating Arsenal on their manor in the early afternoon, and the men despatching Crystal Palace at Wembley a couple of hours later. It means a mouth-watering weekend is in prospect at Wembley
In a single extraordinary weekend, Chelsea’s men AND women reached their respective FA Cup finals.
Both won their semis 2-0 – the women defeating Arsenal on their manor in the early afternoon, and the men despatching Crystal Palace at Wembley a couple of hours later.
It means a mouth-watering weekend is in prospect at Wembley on May 14 and 15 as first the men, then the women, take on opponents Liverpool (still dreaming of the quadruple) and Manchester City, who brushed aside West Ham women to take their place in Sunday’s cup final.
Emma Hayes was both delighted and critical following the Boreham Wood victory, where second-half goals from Guro Reiten and Ji So-Yun ensured the Blues progressed.
There were one or two close calls, notably in the opening minutes, when the Gunners threatened to overwhelm the Chelsea defence… but Aniek Nouwen, the Dutch defender, stood firm against her fellow Netherlands star Viv Miedema to earn a player of the match gong.
“I thought we were horrific for the first 20 minutes,” said Hayes, pointing to the dislocation of players coming back at different times and in different states from their international commitments.
“The goal came in the first minutes of the second half, which was the right time [for us],” she said, adding that it was another clean sheet which had given her huge satisfaction. “Defensively we were solid, and we wanted to go back to Wembley.”
Thomas Tuchel was pleased with the display against Palace, who set up to thwart Chelsea… and succeeded in the first half, which was one of the dullest 45 minutes anyone could recall at Wembley.
The only points of note were Mateo Kovacic ricking his right ankle and having to be replaced by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Kai Havertz rightly being booked for a graceless dive into the Palace penalty area to try to blag a penalty.
If anyone came close to breaking the deadlock it was Palace in the 36th minute as Cheikhou Kouyate’s shot was saved and Joachim Andersen hit the post with the follow-up.
Mercifully for the 76,238 weary spectators, it brightened up in the 65th minute when ex-Blue Marc Guehi blocked a Havertz shot, but Loftus-Cheek unleashed a terrific volley which took a deflection on its way home.
Timo Werner set up the second 11 minutes later, feeding Mason Mount who slid the ball past Jack Butland.
Chelsea will get 30,000 tickets for the men’s FA Cup final, while Chelsea will have 5,000 tickets for the women’s match the following day.