Magda Eriksson warns Chelsea to expect tough test in delayed FA Cup final
Magda Eriksson has warned Chelsea will need to give it everything they have to complete the domestic treble this weekend.
The Women’s Super League champions take on Arsenal, the current leaders, in last season’s delayed FA Cup final on Sunday.
Chelsea were dominant last term but the Gunners have strengthened since and, after edging the Blues 3-2 when they met in September, have a one-point advantage over their rivals at the top of the table.
Eriksson, the Chelsea captain, said: “It’s going to be a difficult task, we’re well aware of that. They’re in great form but since that game we’ve been in great form as well.
“It’s two teams really in top form, it’s going to be anyone’s to grab. It’s going to be 50-50.
“It’s about us being ready for the game and showing we have learned from the previous encounter at the Emirates.
“It is about which team comes out the strongest, so we are going to have to be ready to give it everything we have got.”
The clash renews the London sides’ rivalry in the competition. Arsenal overcame Chelsea to win the last of their record 14 cup triumphs in the 2016 final but fortunes were reversed when they met again in the 2018 showpiece.
Eriksson was in the Chelsea side on that occasion three years ago and has happy memories as she targets a repeat success.
The Sweden international said: “It was my first really big game in England and it is still, to this day, one of the best days in my career.
“It was an amazing experience and hopefully it can be similar on Sunday. I view it as a nice memory, but it was a long time ago. Both are teams that have gone through lots of changes since.
“Obviously having the experience of playing in finals is really important but you have to utilise it and capitalise on it on the day.
“Arsenal are a stronger team now – but so are we.”
The final marks the culmination of the cup’s 50th anniversary season and will be a celebratory occasion for the women’s game as a whole.
Arsenal skipper Kim Little said: “Obviously with the final now being at Wembley and the amount of bigger games there are now, I think that shows how far it has progressed.
“That’s credit to everyone involved in the game and, as players, we get to do the best bit on the pitch. It’ll be great to be part of that occasion.”
Little is bidding for her fourth FA Cup triumph with Arsenal but her first since rejoining the club in 2017, having been the losing captain in 2018.
“Those experiences in cup finals can help,” said 31-year-old Litttle, who retired from international duty with Scotland in September.
“There are definitely things I can think from that (2018) game we could do better. We want to win trophies and we’ll be motivated to do it.”