Chelsea's Kerr and Kirby tear Arsenal apart to win FA Cup

Arsenal 0-3 Chelsea: The lethal duo of Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr tear the WSL leaders apart to win the FA Cup as women’s football moves beyond its shameful ban 100 years to the day

  • Chelsea could have been well clear at half-time as they dominated their rivals 
  • Fran Kirby raced through to open the scoring after being set up by Sam Kerr
  • Kirby was then denied twice by Manuela Zinsberger before Kerr hit the bar
  • Emma Hayes’ side made it 2-0 as Kerr’s near-post strike surprised Zinsberger 
  • And WSL top scorer Kerr put the seal on an impressive display with a lovely chip

It would be easy to talk about the emotion of this FA Cup final. Taking place on the 100-year anniversary of the ban on the women’s game, there were several poignant moments at Wembley.

But this sport has come too far for cliches. Of course it is important to recognise the past, but what we should focus on most of all is the football, the brilliance of Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby and the success of Chelsea boss Emma Hayes.

Her side were beaten by Arsenal on the opening day of the Women’s Super League season, but they were better in every department today and this trophy secures the Blues a treble for the 2020-21 season, due to the final being delayed by Covid-19. 

Fran Kirby and Emma Hayes celebrate as Chelsea overwhelmed Arsenal to win the FA Cup

The Gunners were distinctly second best having beaten Chelsea 3-2 in the WSL in September

Sam Kerr’s two second-half strikes took the game away from Arsenal in a one-sided contest

Kirby surged through to open the scoring after Kerr’s flick had deflected into her path

The only disappointment is that this did not break the record attendance for a women’s FA Cup final. 

Over 47,000 tickets were issued by the FA but only 40,942 people showed up. This is an on-going battle for the governors of the women’s game and their ambitious aim to sell-out a final in the next three years still seems some way off reality. 

On Boxing Day 1920, Dick Kerr Ladies attracted a crowd of 53,000 for a charity game against St Helen’s. 

Women’s football is still paying the price for the FA’s 50-year ban, which was recognised before kick-off. 

The two captains from the first final back in 1971 brought out the trophy before kick-off and Elise Cook, who led out Scottish side Stewarton Thistle, was in tears – and she was not the only one who felt the emotion of this day.

Kirby looked overcome after scoring in the third minute. In November 2019, the England striker was diagnosed with pericarditis, a rare condition that is caused by fluid and inflammation of the sac that protects the heart.

Magdalena Eriksson had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 – but headed wide from a corner

The illness left her barely able to walk and kept her out of the game for eight months as the 28-year-old came close to early retirement. How lucky we are that she is still playing.

The forward was able to open the scoring following some wayward Arsenal passing inside their own half. 

Frida Maanum could only divert the ball into the path of Kerr after intercepting Jessie Fleming’s pass. Kerr’s ball to Kirby then hit the Arsenal midfielder and fell kindly for Kirby, who kept her composure to fire into the bottom left corner past Manuela Zinsberger.

Kirby had a couple of other chances in the first half as she was denied by Manuela Zinsberger

Kerr should have doubled Chelsa’s lead three minutes later after she was played through by Kirby, but the striker’s shot was blocked by the legs of Zinsberger.

The Arsenal goalkeeper was responsible for keeping the score at 1-0 in the first half with a string of impressive saves. Erin Cuthbert’s long ball down the right wing found Kerr, who cut the ball back to Kirby inside the box, but Zinsberger was able to palm her powerful effort wide.

The goalkeeper was there again to deny Kirby a second midway through the half. The forward’s shot from the edge of the box was going into the bottom left corner before Zinsberger threw out a hand to tip the ball around the post. 

Kerr outmuscled Lotte Wubben-Moy on the cusp of half-time – only to hit the woodwork

Kerr’s last visit to Wembley was for the Community Shield against Manchester City last year and that afternoon she wasted several big chances and her second appearance here started in a similar fashion. 

After being denied by Zinsberger earlier in the game, she hit the bar 10 minutes before the break. The striker outmuscled Lotte Wubben-Moy to run through one on one with Zinsberger. Kerr’s chip beat the ‘keeper but hit the woodwork and bounced over.

Finally her moment came at the start of the second half. Kirby played the ball down the left to Kerr, who cut inside Wubben-Moy and fired a low shot from the edge of the box which beat Zinsberger at her near post.

Arsenal’s leading striker Vivianne Miedema had a frustrating afternoon at the national stadium

Sam Kerr fired through the legs of Lotte Wubben-Moy to finally open her account at Wembley


ARSENAL (4-3-3): Zinsberger 7; Maritz 6, Beattie 4 (Foord 69), Wubben-Moy 4 (Boye 87), Catley 5; Maanum 6 (Parris 80), Walti 5 (Iwabuchi 60), Little 6; Mead 6.5, McCabe 6, Miedema 5.

Subs not used: Williams, Patten, Nobbs, Schnaderbeck, Goldie.

Booked: Mead, McCabe, Parris

Goals: None

Manager: Jonas Eidevall 5

Chelsea (3-5-2): Berger 6; Carter 7, Bright 7, Eriksson 7; Cuthbert 7, Ingle 6.5 (Nouwen 90+4), Leupolz 7 (Ji 86), Reiten 6.5 (Spence 87), Fleming 6.5; Kirby 8 (Harder 73), Kerr 9 (England 86).

Subs not used: Musovic, Charles, Andersson, Fox.

Booked: Cuthbert

Goals: Kirby 3, Kerr 57, 77

Manager: Emma Hayes 8

Referee: Helen Conley 6


It was an effort the ‘keeper should have saved, but Kerr did not care as she punched the air in a mix of celebration and relief.

Kirby again came close to a second when she danced through the Arsenal defence before curling a left-footed effort towards the top corner. Again, the woodwork saved the Gunners.

It could not save them when Kerr scored what was the best goal of the afternoon, however. 

And Kerr’s sublime chip made it 3-0 as Chelsea won their third FA Cup final since 2015

Chelsea host Arsenal in the league in February with Jonas Eidevall’s side currently sitting top

After being played in by Melanie Leupolz, Kerr ran through on goal and nonchalantly chipped the ball over Zinsberger and into the back of the net. The Australian’s Wembley curse is no more. 

‘It wouldn’t go in [in the first half], but we knew it was coming,’ Kerr said. ‘It could have been four or five-nil in the first half, but they defended well. 

‘We knew if we keep pushing at some point they would go in and they did. I am paid to score goals, but our defence was amazing, it was a team effort. I can’t wait to party!’

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