Chelsea thumps Arsenal to win FA Cup and seal domestic treble

Fran Kirby scored the opening goal after only two minutes and Sam Kerr netted a second-half brace, the latter a delightful chipped finish, to seal a third FA Cup for Emma Hayes's side.

Chelsea's Sam Kerr, centre right, celebrates with teammates after scoring their side's third goal of the game, during the women's FA Cup final.   -  AP

Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 3-0 to win the 2020-21 Women's FA Cup at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, completing the English treble for the first time after winning the League Cup and Women's Super League title earlier this year.

Fran Kirby scored the opening goal after only two minutes and Sam Kerr netted a second-half brace, the latter a delightful chipped finish, to seal a third FA Cup for Emma Hayes's side and a third trophy of 2021.

Last season's FA Cup was interrupted, then postponed to this campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chelsea began the game second to Arsenal in the league standings, having lost to it on the opening day of the season.

However, it got off to the best possible start when Kirby pounced on a defensive lapse by the Gunners defence, who failed to clear their lines, and hit the ball into the bottom corner.

Chelsea dominated the first half in front of almost 41,000 fans while Arsenal looked a shadow of the side which was so far unbeaten in all competitions this campaign. It was not helped by the absence of England defender Leah Williamson through injury.

The Blues were incredibly wasteful in front of goal, though, with Kirby having efforts saved by goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger and Australia striker Kerr hitting the bar when clear through one on one.

Kerr made up for that miss shortly after halftime, however, when she ran on to a long ball and cut inside the penalty area, toying with defender Lotte Wubben-Moy before firing a low shot inside the near post.

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Jonas Eidevall, in his first season as Arsenal manager, urged his side forward but they were always crowded out by the Chelsea defence who expertly marked key Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema out of the game. Arsenal failed to have a shot on target.

The result was sealed for Chelsea in the 77th minute when player of the match Kerr chipped the ball over Zinsberger from the right-hand side of the penalty area.

The match was played on the 100th anniversary of the English FA banning professional women's football in 1921. The ban lasted nearly 50 years until it was rescinded in January 1970.

After the match, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said winning the domestic treble was her biggest achievement at the club.

"I think to win a treble, and I have to say a quadruple domestically because we won the Community Shield (in 2020), is the biggest achievement," she told a news conference.

"As far as we're concerned it is a quadruple of domestic trophies, and that is an amazing achievement of football at any level," she added.

"I think when it comes to the performance, what more could I ask as a team, except we should have had more goals in the first half and then I think it would have been even more convincing.

"It was dominant, it was dogged when it needed to be, I think tactically we got it spot on, we dealt with the threats...

"This is a proud day as manager of Chelsea... and tonight we have painted Wembley blue."

Hayes added that she had been congratulated by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich after the game.

There won't be too much time to celebrate, however, as Chelsea faces Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday looking to clinch first place in Group A.

Chelsea is eager to go on and make amends for its defeat in the Champions League final last season to Barcelona.

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