Arsenal seek to avenge FA Cup final loss against holders Chelsea

Chelsea's Magdalena Eriksson heads at goal during the 2021 Vitality Women's FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium

Chelsea's Magdalena Eriksson heads at goal during the 2021 Vitality Women's FA Cup final against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium - Credit: PA

Arsenal return to action in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Meadow Park on Sunday, seeking to avenge defeat in last season's final.

The Gunners lost the delayed 2021 decider against the Blues at Wembley Stadium in December, with Fran Kirby opening the scoring before Australian striker Sam Kerr hit a second-half brace. 

But Arsenal have won the most Women’s FA Cups in the history of the competition, having picked up the trophy on 14 occasions.

The two sides have already met in the Women’s Super League twice this season, with Jonas Eidevall’s troops winning 3-2 at the Emirates Stadium and a 0-0 draw at Kingsmeadow.

Beth Mead, who has had an outstanding campaign for the north London side, played a starring role against Emma Hayes' side on the opening weekend of the season as she found the net twice in that win in north London.

Arsenal's Beth Mead applauds the fans after their recent Super League victory over Leicester

Arsenal's Beth Mead applauds the fans after their recent Super League victory over Leicester - Credit: PA

Mead is one to watch this weekend as she has a very good record against Arsenal’s London rivals and is coming off the international break in fine form, having netted four in England’s 10-0 World Cup qualifying win over North Macedonia last Friday evening.

For Chelsea, Guro Reiten is very much the one that Eidevall’s side will need to watch given her current form, with the Norwegian international picking up three goals and two assists in her last three games. 

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Reiten is also a danger from set-pieces, with her first goal against Leicester City coming from a free-kick, with Arsenal going into the fixture knowing they cannot make any silly fouls from outside the box.

Eidevall and Hayes have met each other on three different occasions in their career so far, taking one win each before the latest meeting ended in a goalless stalemate.

Hayes is a fan of attractive and offensive football having worked at Arsenal and has also been influenced by Arsene Wenger.

Eidevall is very much in a similar boat, as he likes to get his teams to play with plenty of energy and intensity and press high up the pitch.

Hayes occasionally has set up in a 4-4-2/4-3-1-2 formation this season, but the formation primarily used is the 4-2-3-1, which transforms into a 4-2-4 when Chelsea are in possession.

Rob Pratley, Chelsea fan and editor of the Chelsea Social, when asked for his view on the game, said: "It is a tough contest to predict between two elite sides and two managers that will be desperate to get one last mental edge ahead of the dramatic WSL finale in the forthcoming weeks."

The match will be broadcast live on BBC Two this Sunday April 17 with a 12.30pm kick-off.