Arsenal Ladies defender feels Wembley experience could be crucial in Women’s FA Cup final against Chelsea
- Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo
Casey Stoney believes her experience of international football at Wembley will benefit the Gunners when they attempt to prise the Women’s FA Cup from Chelsea’s grip.
The 33-year-old defender is no stranger to the stadium, having played there for England and captained Team GB at the Olympic tournament four years ago.
And, although Arsenal came off second best when they lost to the Blues in the Women’s Super League recently, Stoney is confident of a different outcome when the sides meet again in Saturday’s final (kick-off 2pm).
“I have played at Wembley, I have played for England and led the team out for Team GB,” said the Gunners centre-back. “I have experienced what Wembley can be like with over 70,000 fans.
“That experience will be invaluable come Saturday and keeping the young heads calm and making sure we are in the right place to be able to do our jobs and perform.
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“Having the FA Cup final at Wembley has been a massive advert for the women’s game. It helps to put the women’s game on the same level as the men’s game, which is where we want to be.
“Hopefully it will filter down into grassroots and there will probably be quite a few thousand young girls watching the final, so hopefully there is some inspiration there and they will pick up a ball and play.”
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Arsenal have lifted the trophy – which is sponsored by SSE – a record 13 times, while their opponents’ 1-0 win over Notts County in last season’s final was their first success.
Stoney and her team-mates have survived a couple of close calls to reach Wembley this time, advancing to the last four with penalty shoot-outs in successive rounds against Birmingham and Notts County.
Their path through the semi-final was somewhat more straightforward as they hammered Sunderland 7-0 – only to suffer a setback in their league campaign a week later, slumping 2-0 at home to Chelsea.
But Stoney does not expect that result to have any bearing this weekend, adding: “I think this will be a one-off game. We have lost to them before but it doesn’t matter in the FA Cup final.
“I don’t think we will ever need any inspiration or motivation to go out there and perform. We know we need to be better than we were in the league and we will be – no doubt about that.
“It has not been an easy journey to get to the final, but we are here now and it is where we want to be.”
To buy your tickets to the SSE Women’s FA Cup final, visit www.thefa.com