In the midst of an ACL epidemic, with star strikers Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema forced to sit in the stands, Arsenal lifted silverware for the first time since 2018/19 season. The 2023 Conti Cup Final at Selhurst Park was a triumph for the Gunners over London rivals, Chelsea.

As ABBA sang in the song 'Waterloo', 'the history book on the shelf is always repeating itself,' and circumstances are familiar heading into this year's final. Chelsea are missing two of their key forwards, Sam Kerr and Mia Fishel due to ACL injuries. 

Last year's final proved a poignant moment in Arsenal's season, giving them the belief and mentality to reach the UWCL semi finals. 

Kerr's early goal was cancelled out by Stina Blackstenius' equaliser before Kim Little's successful penalty and Niamh Charles' own goal sealed the deal for the Gunners

Across this season, Arsenal and Chelsea have had very contrasting results against each other. Winning 4-1 at home in December, the Gunners lost 3-1 on the road in early March. 

The sides have two very different business ends to the season. The Conti Cup is Arsenal's last hope at silverware while Chelsea has just progressed to the UWCL semi final and remain in all competitions. 

  • Team News

There are no new injuries from the Arsenal camp however, midfielder Lia Wälti will remain unavailable following a knee injury - suspected as an Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury.

Dutch striker, Vivianne Miedema, will miss another Conti Cup final, undergoing a further surgery on her knee related to her ACL recovery. 

Laura Wienroither is available for selection after featuring in an Arsenal U21s against Charlton Athletic midweek. The defender is coming back from an ACL injury and was on the bench last week against Aston Villa. 

  • Likely Lineups

Arsenal: Zinsberger, Fox, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Little, Pelova, Mead, Maanum, Lacasse, Russo

Chelsea: Mušović, Périsset, Carter, Buchanan, Lawrence, Cuthbert, Ingle, Kirby, Beever-Jones, Ramírez, Reiten 

  • Key Players 

Arsenal - Victoria Pelova

Winning the Conti Cup within her first few months at Arsenal, Dutch midfielder, Victoria Pelova, has developed into one of Arsenal's best and most consistent players since that final.

In the absence of Kim Little and Lia Wälti at times, Pelova has been anchoring the midfield and playing a more senior role, despite her youth. 

Scoring the equalising goal against Aston Villa last week, Pelova stepped up for the Gunners,  building the momentum. Speaking following the 3-1 victory over Villa, Pelova said:

“We all needed a bit of confidence after the game against Chelsea, but we showed even if we are 1-0 down we can turn it around, so that is a good thing."

Chelsea - Sjoeke Nüsken

Versatile is perhaps the most accurate word to describe Sjoeke Nüsken on a football pitch. Emma Hayes has utilised Nüsken across the pitch, playing in the midfield, at right back, at centre back and up front. 

In some ways, the versatility that she possesses is frustrating for a player, not being able to hone their skills in one area. However, for a manger, it's a gift and for Emma Hayes, it's extremely helpful.

Chelsea have been faced with a host of significant injuries in a number of different positions allowing Nüsken to take to most roles in the side. 

Scoring a brace against Arsenal in the WSL and Ajax in the UWCL, the 23-year-old, Hayes praised Nüsken ability. 

“She’s a box player, no question. She wants to be there, and the third goal epitomised her desire, her positioning and her quality," she said.

  • Match Details

Where is the game being played?

The match will be played at Wolverhampton Wanderers' home ground, Molineux Stadium, in Wolverhampton. 

What time is kick-off?

Kick-off is scheduled for 15:00 (GMT) on Sunday 31st March.

How can I watch?

The game will be live on BBC Two.