Emma Hayes cuts relieved figure after Chelsea Ladies clinch FA Cup
England forward Fran Kirby soon settled any Chelsea nerves with a third goal.
Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes was glad her side did not have to do it the hard way as they outclassed Arsenal to lift the FA Cup with a dominant 3-1 win at Wembley.
Ramona Bachmann broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half and then soon curled in a second, via a slight deflection.
Arsenal threatened to set up a tense closing quarter-of-an-hour when Vivianne Miedema knocked the ball home in the 74th minute.
However, England forward Fran Kirby soon settled any nerves when she cut inside to curl a fine left-footed shot into the far corner.
To be able to enjoy the closing stages in front of what was a record Wembley crowd of more than 45,000 was especially welcome for Hayes, who is in the later stages of pregnancy.
“The last thing I needed was something too nervy and that was the most relaxed I have felt in a final in my entire career,” Hayes said.
“With a record crowd, I’m very pleased that people watching today have watched a very high standard of football.”
Chelsea could yet go on to claim the double as they look to edge ahead of rivals Manchester City over the closing weeks of the Women’s Super League.
Hayes, quoted by BBC Sport, added: “This is more enjoyable than the first time around (winning the FA Cup in 2015) because that was such a dominant performance from us.
“The quality of the goals showed the difference between the two sides.”
Arsenal had won the FA Cup a record 14 times, having only ever lost one final.
Joe Montemurro’s team had made a positive start, but were in the end second best to the Blues.
The Australian coach, though, remained positive.
“Obviously I’m disappointed, but let’s speak truthfully, they’re a powerful team and a good team and they’ve got players that can unlock games. The big-game players play on the big stages and they did that,” Montemurro said on the Arsenal website.
“We have come a long way in the 20 weeks that I’ve been here. We’re starting to find a little bit of rhythm and we’re starting to find a little bit of base that is synonymous with Arsenal.
“We still need to do a lot of work and maybe the amount of games over the last 10 to 15 days has taken its toll, but I take away nothing from my players, they were mammoth.”