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Arsenal vs. Chelsea, Women’s FA Cup Final: Preview, team news, how to watch


Arsenal Women v Chelsea Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Chelsea have one scuff mark on our league record this season, the first game of the season against our big London rivals, Arsenal, a 3-2 defeat. Now the two face off again, this time with a trophy on the line. This is the culmination of the 2020-21 FA Cup tournament which bled over into this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Final will be held at Wembley, where 40,000 tickets have been sold and 45,000 are expected to attend.

Chelsea’s path to the Final included a 4-0 defeat of Birmingham City in the quarterfinal and a 3-0 dusting of Manchester City in the semifinal. Arsenal topped their north London neighbors Tottenham 5-1 in the quarterfinal, and beat Brighton 3-0 in their semifinal.

Emma Hayes always manages to flip a switch in the team for domestic competitions, and we will have even more of a reason to make a statement versus Arsenal as new manager Jonas Eidevall has them top of the league, and they’re the only team to take points off Chelsea.

This one promises to be a mf’n banger.

Date / Time: Sunday, December 5, 2021, 14.00 GMT; 9:00am EST; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Forecast: Mostly cloudy; 45°F/7°C
How to watch: ESPN+ (USA), BBC One & BBC iPlayer (UK & Ireland), Sportsnet (Canada), Star+ & ESPN Brasil (Brazil)

Chelsea team news: Emma Hayes’ extreme caution with Pernille Harder’s injury may have paid off, and Chelsea’s social media team haven’t been at all shy about posting photos of the superstar forward back in training. Hayes also confirmed that center back Aniek Nouwen will be available as well.

If both are fit enough to start, it will be the most complete XI the Blues have been able to field since — well, ever. Nouwen and Harder have yet to be in the same starting lineup, but it would be a bit of surprise if it were to happen in the final. Jessie Fleming and Lauren James have stepped up, and Maren Mjelde has seen time at the back along with day 1 starter Jess Carter, who scored her first international goal in England’s absurd 20-0 trampling of Latvia.

The schedule after the final is a bit brutal, with four matches in eleven days, including a trip to Germany to face old foe Wolfsburg in the Champions League. Though it’s a final, Hayes has some important decisions to make on bringing in players who have missed significant time.

Arsenal team news: Leah Williamson is set to miss the Final with a hamstring injury she picked up in the Gunners’ 1-1 draw against Tottenham. They’ll also be without USWNT star Tobin Heath, who somewhat worryingly has started just one league match this season. Kim Little and Mana Iwabuchi picked up small injuries during the international break but manager Jonas Eidevall says he hopes they’ll be ready for the final.

Previously: We don’t wanna talk about it but since you brought it up Beth Mead’s winner was offside by a yard whatever we’re not still mad.

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