Women's FA Cup Final preview: Chelsea will be out for revenge, says former Blues and Arsenal star

Katie Chapman, Women's FA Cup, Arsenal vs Chelsea
(Image credit: Future)

Chelsea's aim for revenge against Arsenal in this weekend's Women's FA Cup final will lead to a hatful of goals, according to someone with more experience than most of the occasion.

Katie Chapman played for both Arsenal and Chelsea during her 22-year career – and picked up a record 10 FA Cup winners' medals along the way.

And with the top six Women's Super League scorers so far this season coming from the two sides, the day at Wembley promises plenty of action.

"I expect it to be a great game," Chapman told FourFourTwo. "Every game between Arsenal and Chelsea is always a showcase for the women’s game."

We all know that league form goes out the window in cup competitions, but the Gunners currently sit top of the Women's Super League table, with Chelsea just one point behind. The Blues only loss of the season so far came at the hands of Sunday's opponents in a thrilling 3-2 at the Emirates back in September.

Chapman says that will spur Emma Hayes' side on.

"I’m sure Chelsea will want to get one back for losing the first game of the season. It will be a close game, but it will be a great game."

That five-goal season opener is also a fair representation of how many goals to expect from an Arsenal vs Chelsea game, too – such as Chelsea's 4-1 victory in north London back in January 2020.

"It’s amazing that it will be a great final... It will always be a great atmosphere when it’s Arsenal-Chelsea because it is a rivalry game. If they’re not close games, they will really go one way or the other – it’s always exciting to watch."

Katie Chapman, Chelsea Women, FA Cup 2018

(Image credit: Getty Images)

But they will have to deal with a number of Arsenal players at the top of their game. In particular, Beth Mead has seen a resurgence in form this season – including a hat-trick during England's astonishing 20-0 victory over Latvia on Tuesday.

"She had a blip in her form and she wasn’t getting games [last season]," says Chapman. "but I think she’s taken her opportunity. Arsenal have given her the opportunity to get games and she’s come back flying. She’s scoring goals for them and she’s looking really, really good."

On Chelsea's side, Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby's productive link-up play has won plaudits recently, though Chapman says it would be a mistake to simply try and contain that threat. "It’s not just Kerr and Kirby to deal with, it’s the whole Chelsea squad.

"The Kerr-Kirby combination is great, but if you try and stop that then you’ve got to stop someone else like Pernille Harder or Jessie Fleming, or Erin Cuthbert. You’ve got to concentrate on your own game."

If she were to pick just one player to get on the scoresheet at Wembley, it would be the Blues' free-scoring Australian, however.

"Sam Kerr has come and she’s lived up to her name. She’s a world-class player. It took her a little while to find her feet a little bit at the start when she joined Chelsea, but now she’s consistent – she’s on fire at the minute, putting them away for fun."

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes' profile was boosted by her performance as a TV pundit during the men's Euro 2020 tournament this summer, and Chapman explains that the preparation Hayes put in as an analyst is also evident in her day job as a manager.

"She will get her tactics spot on and the team will be absolutely prepared, down to the finest details, prepared for the game. She’s an absolute winner, she’s great at what she does, she’s a great people person. I’ve played under her at three different clubs – she’ll be more than ready."

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