The final of the 2021 Women's FA Cup will see Arsenal face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium this weekend. At least one Matildas player will lift the Cup.
While the final is normally held in May, it is taking place in December this year after delays in the competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two current FA Women's Super League leaders will be meeting in the final.
FA Women's Cup 2021
- Arsenal will face Chelsea at Wembley ensuring at least one Matildas player wins.
- The 2021 FA Cup was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This year's game marks the 50 anniversary of the Cup since the reinstatement of women's football by the English Football Association.
A full list of the journey to the FA Women's Cup final can be found on the FA's website.
Much has changed since the FA reinstated women's football in 1971, after having banned women from playing football in 1921. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Women's FA Cup, in an era that continues to see a rapid growth and improvement in the women's game.
No new club will be awarded the Cup as both Chelsea and Arsenal have won it in the past. Chelsea will be seeking their third victory while Arsenal could claim the FA Cup for the 15th time, besting their record.
Arsenal's road to this FA Cup final was through wins against Gillingham, Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Brighton in their four rounds of qualification. Chelsea defeated London City Lionesses, Everton, Birmingham and Manchester City.
While Arsenal beat Chelsea this season in their FA WSL opener at the Emirates Stadium, both clubs have been on a run of form of late and are arguably evenly matched entering in this game. With two attacking styles of play, this should prove to be an exiting match for spectators despite the normally conservative nature of finals.
Arsenal Women will have Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord and Lydia Williams available while Chelsea can rely on their leading goalscorer Sam Kerr. The Matildas' face off ensures that at least one Australian will be FA Cup champion this time tomorrow.
Neither head coach has stated their intended line-ups, with both stipulating in the pre-game press conferences that the recent international break and travel could affect final selection. The four Matildas ventured back from Australia mid-week after their USA matches in New South Wales.
However, in her pre-match press conference Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes added that she felt that Sam Kerr was " fit and ready to go" despite the extensive travel she had endured.
Whether she and the other three Australians feature, this match will be a historic one in the burgeoning professional women's football era. Fans of the women's game would not have dreamt of the advances that have occurred just in the last 10 years, let alone 50 when the first FA Women's Cup was disputed.
Hayes touched upon the importance of this game:
"This is about everybody in the game. It's a coming together of a women's game that has grown to an amazing level and one we will keep building on.
"It will be a great final with two great teams and quality on show. It's a great venue and, of course, I want to win but this game is about something much bigger.
"This is great for those who have been involved in the women's game from the onset. This is the showpiece event.
"It's two fabulous teams vying to win, but the FA Cup is about the history and it's about making more history.
"It's recognition of everyone that has come before. It is a special date in the calendar. I salute every single one of the women that have provided the opportunities and pathway and have sacrificed so much so the game can be where it is.
"It is a celebration of women's football."
The game can be viewed tonight on Monday, December 7, 2021 at 1:00 AM AEDT on Optus Sport in Australia.
Further information about the Matildas can be found on their website.