Emma Hayes hails unstoppable pair Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr after FA Cup triumph

·3 min read

Emma Hayes hailed unstoppable pair Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr after they combined to fire Chelsea to a 3-0 FA Cup final win over Arsenal at Wembley.

Kirby gave Chelsea an early lead and Kerr finished outclassed Arsenal off with a second-half double to clinch a domestic treble after last season’s Women’s Super League and League Cup wins.

Hayes savoured what she called a “proud day as the manager of Chelsea” and heaped praise on England international Kirby and Australia striker Kerr.

“I thought that was Fran’s best game in a Chelsea shirt, she ran the show,” said Hayes.

“She got on the ball, was a threat and real handful throughout the game.”

Turning attention to two-goal Kerr’s contribution, Hayes added: “Kerr wondered how she would cope in the English game. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the best striker in the world.

“She’s courageous and full of confidence, can do that after getting off a plane from Australia on Thursday.

“They (Kirby and Kerr) are two of many many characters in this dressing room who are noteworthy for their performances today.”

Hayes admitted she had been very confident about her side’s final chances going into the Wembley showpiece against record 14-times FA Cup winners Arsenal.

Arsenal v Chelsea – Vitality Women’s FA Cup – Final – Wembley Stadium
Chelsea players celebrate with the trophy after beating Arsenal 3-0 in the women’s FA Cup final at Wembley (John Walton/PA Images).

“I saw it coming,” she said. “I see the standards every day.

“I thought we were like a machine today from start to finish.

“Real credit must go not just to the players but also to the backroom staff.

“It’s our treble from last year, and I really did not believe that there would be another outcome.

“The confidence, the calm nature in our dressing room was unbelievable before the game.

“I know everyone talks a lot about the opening day of the season (when Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Women’s Super League). We won today, we can’t read into it any more.”

Arsenal v Chelsea – Vitality Women’s FA Cup – Final – Wembley Stadium
Sam Kerr celebrates the first of her two goals in Chelsea’s 3-0 women’s FA Cup final win over Arsenal (John Walton/PA Images).

Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall was left to reflect on a disappointing showing from his side, who did not deliver quality to match their endeavour.

Arsenal did improve after the break but, although Vivianne Miedema had a couple of half chances, they rarely posed a threat to Chelsea’s well organised defence.

“In this game we are doing better in the second half but we still had the same problem that we lose the ball at very bad times,” said Eidevall.

“At those moments Chelsea can expose us on the counter attack.

“If they get time and space and run against you, they’re world class players, and you can’t let Chelsea do it that many times and expect a good result.

Arsenal v Chelsea – Vitality Women’s FA Cup – Final – Wembley Stadium
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes celebrates with Sam Kerr on the touchline during the women’s FA Cup final (John Walton/PA Images).

“It was not effort that was at fault. The players tried to do everything on the pitch but the quality for us as a team, it was not there today.”

Chelsea were ahead after three minutes when Arsenal gave the ball away and Kirby fired home from the edge of the penalty area.

Kerr’s two second-half goals ensured there was no way back for Chelsea.

The first, on 57 minutes, was slotted past Arsenal defender Lotte Wuben-Moy and keeper Manuela Zinsberger.

Her second, in the 77th minute, came via a subtle dink over Zinsberger.

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