FA Women's Cup semi-final round-up: Chelsea and Arsenal to do battle under the arch

Wembley will host one of the biggest ever meetings between the two sides.

FA Women's Cup semi-final round-up: Chelsea and Arsenal to do battle under the arch
Credit: The FA

The 2016 final will see current holders, Chelsea Ladies, face thirteen-time winners, Arsenal Ladies.

It will be a battle between London's biggest clubs at Wembley after the Gunners beat Sunderland Ladies 7-0.

At Staines, Chelsea left it late to edge past Manchester City Women and reach the showpiece fixture once again; the Blues eventually won 2-1 after extra time.

Gunners romp to victory

After having both previous games in the competition this year go to penalties, Arsenal would have been wanting to dispatch with Sunderland in a timely manner. When Emma Mitchell saw red for a second bookable offence in the 33rd minute, it looked like the Reds were finally done in this year’s FA Cup.

Down to ten but nowhere near beaten, Arsenal rallied and went in at half time the team on top, leading through a Danielle van de Donk goal scored just six minutes after Mitchell’s dismissal. After the restart the Gunners went from strength to strength, Dan Carter doubling the lead ten minutes into the second half.

As the Lady Black Cats looked to be coming back into the game - testing Sari van Veenendaal more frequently - the game saw its’ second red card, Abby Holmes given her marching orders after fouling van de Donk in the box.

After Fara Williams clinically added a third from the spot the flood gates opened. Van de Donk with her second, followed by Jordan Nobbs to make it five and van de Donk completed her hat trick with five minutes still left to play. Dan Carter scoring the last of the seven in stoppage time to compound Sunderland’s misery.

Chelsea celebrate Ji's late equaliser | Credit: Sophie Lawson
Chelsea celebrate Ji's late equaliser | Credit: Sophie Lawson

Extra-time required in Staines

Whilst the Gunners were scoring for fun, Chelsea and Manchester City were playing out a much more frustrating game. Although City saw more of the ball in the first half, the two went into the break all square, Chelsea dominating the ball much more in the second half. But with well over an hour played it looked like it was going to take a goal-of-the-season contender or a giant blunder at the back for either team to break the deadlock, extra time already seemed to be looming.

However with a little less than twenty minutes left Jane Ross poked the ball home at a scrappy corner. After that, Emma Hayes and her players threw everything bar the kitchen sink at the visitors. Their persistence paying off as Ji So-Yun levelled the scores with a direct free-kick five minutes from time.

City, though clearly tired, dug in and forced extra time; all throughout both fifteen minute periods it looked Chelsea were going to find that extra bit of magic to seal the win.

The clock ticked into the 120th minute and substitute, Fran Kirby once again broke through the defence, and with mere seconds left, rolled the ball past Karen Bardsley and into the back of the net. Manchester City once again undone away from home by Chelsea in an FA Cup semi-final.

The SSE Women’s FA Cup final will take place at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 14 May, tickets are available through the FA ticketing website.