Arsenal are into the final of the 2020-21 Women’s FA Cup after beating Brighton 3-0 in the semi-final at Meadow Park. Brighton were able to frustrate Arsenal for the first half, but Kim Little broke the deadlock, before Beth Mead and Leah Williamson added to proceedings. Arsenal will face Chelsea, who beat Manchester City 3-0, at Wembley on December 5.
Arsenal were without Vivianne Miedema, as well as Tobin Heath and Lotte Wubben-Moy, with all three rested, with Caitlin Foord starting up front, with Beth Mead and Nikita Parris either side of her.
Arsenal’s re-jigged lineup took some time to get going, with Brighton’s deep block cutting off passing lanes through the middle. Where Arsenal did have space, it was in the wide areas, with Arsenal frequently moving the ball over to the right hand side, where Parris and Maritz would combine.
Arsenal didn’t create much in the first half, but they had three good chances: Caitlin Foord battled against Victora Williams, and stripped her of possession at the edge of the box, only to see Megan Walsh save her left-footed shot. Moments later, Foord again should’ve scored, but her header, from Maritz’s excellent cross, went wide. Williams then cleared off the line: first Mead missed Parris’ drilled cross, and then Parris met Katie McCabe’s excellent cross from deep, with her header beating Walsh but not Williams, who headed off the line.
Arsenal started the second half with much more intensity and purpose than the first half, with almost an instant reward. Receiving possession from McCabe, Mead twisted past Maya LeTissier, before setting up Kim Little, who took one touch to set herself and then cleverly dinked the ball over Walsh to give Arsenal the lead.
Arsenal were now running rampant down the left hand side, and soon it was two. Having set Little up, Mead scored. Running with the ball from her own half, Mead played a one-two with Nobbs, drove into the box, and after delaying, took a shot. Her shot took a deflection, leaving Walsh stranded, to give Arsenal a 2-0 lead.
Mead was involved in the build-up to the third. After Mana Iwabuchi’s sparkling cross-field through ball, Mead won a corner. Mead took the corner, which was met at the far post by Leah Williamson, to seal the victory.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Zinsberger; Maritz (Patten 82’), Williamson (Goldie 90’), Beattie (Boye 82’), McCabe; Wälti (Maanum 65’), Little, Nobbs; Parris, Foord (Iwabuchi 65’), Mead
Substitutes not used: Williams, Cull, Houssein, Hennessy
Goals: Little 50’, Mead 54’, Williamson 76’