38 min Reiten’s hanging cross is only partially cleared by Catley at the far post. Charles picks up the ball and drags a left-footed shot from 15 yards that is comfortably saved to her left by Zinsberger.
36 min Ingle’s booming long-range shot is headed away by Williamson.
34 min The cautious nature of the game reflects the respect these sides have for each other. There have been few clear chances, just one for Blackstenius in fact.
30 min Ji is penalised for holding Walti, who had just given the ball away to Kerr on the edge of the area. It probably was a foul, and there were no complaints from Ji.
27 min Here’s that effort from Miedema in the 20th minute.
25 min After good pressing from Cuthbert, England’s long-range shot is comfortably saved by Zinsberger.
24 min It’s still very cagey. The first goal is always important, but today it feels especially so.
20 min Out of nothing, Miedema charges to within 20 yards of goal and whistles a rising drive just over the bar. That was a lovely effort.
19 min It’s all a bit cagey. Arsenal have been the better team, though there isn’t a huge amount in it.
17 min Reiten’s angled through ball is just too heavy for Kerr, who tries to control it with her head but can only put it behind for a goalkick.
16 min A better attack from Chelsea. Ji runs at a backpedalling defence and finds Reiten in space on the left side of the area. Her floated cross is headed away at the near post by Williamson.
13 min Blackstenius skins Nouwen on the left side of the box but then makes a mess of a relatively straightforward cutback to Miedema. That was an excellent opportunity for Arsenal.
12 min McCabe and Mead combine nicely to release Mead, whose low cross is blocked by Charles.
10 min Chelsea haven’t really got going yet. The last few minutes have been fairly scrappy.
6 min England is fine. Beth England, that is.
4 min Williamson’s shot smacks England straight in the face, and there’s a break in play while she receives treatment.
3 min It’s been a really good start from Arsenal. Mead runs onto a long ball, slithers away from Carter in the area and is about to shoot when Bright pokes the ball behind for a corner. Actually Carter did well too, getting a slight touch on the ball just before Bright’s clearance.
3 min “It’s hardly their fault,” says Charles Antaki, “but it falls to the Arsenal women to salvage some pride for the club – though to be sure they’ve had one or two shockers themselves this season, not excluding losing 2-0 to a club which is on the point of being relegated. Unfortunately they’re up against probably the better side, so expectations hovering around the so-so level.”
2 min Foord twists Bright inside out on the left of the area and wins a corner. It’s taken short, driven to the far post and headed away by Kerr.
1 min Peep peep! Chelsea kick off from right to left.
Apparently Magda Eriksson has been unwell, which is why she’s only on the bench.
A reminder of the teams
Arsenal (possible 4-3-3) Zinsberger; McCabe, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley; Walti, Little, Miedema; Mead, Blackstenius, Foord.
Substitutes: Williams, Beattie, Maritz, Wienroither, Nobbs, Maanum, Iwabuchi, Heath, Parris.
Chelsea (possible 3-1-4-2) Berger; Bright, Nouwen, Carter; Ingle; Charles, Cuthbert, Ji, Reiten; Kerr, England.
Substitutes: Musovic, Eriksson, Fleming, Mjelde, Harder, Spence, Andersson, Abudllina.
“G’day Rob,” writes Shaun Williams. “Quick shout out to other Aussies wishing to watch the Matilda Ladies in both teams; looks the game is live streaming on the FAPlayer app for free (free sign up required).”
Some more pre-match reading
Arsenal make one change from the side that hammered Leicester last weekend, with Steph Catley replacing Laura Wienroither in defence. That probably means a switch to right-back for Katie McCabe.
Emma Hayes makes three changes to the Chelsea side that won equally comfortably against Reading a week ago. Ann-Katrin Berger, Ji So-Yun and Niamh Charles replace Zecira Musovic, Magda Eriksson and Jessie Fleming. It’s a surprise to see Eriksson, in particular, on the bench.
Chelsea will be without their little superstar Fran Kirby, who has been suffering from severe fatigue. It’s a sad and troubling story.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Chelsea at a sold-out Meadow Park. This is about as moutwatering as it gets: a repeat of last season’s final, and a meeting of the top two in the WSL.
Arsenal have home advantage, but Chelsea will have the happiest memories of hammering Arsenal 3-0 at Wembley in December. (That game, the 2020-21 final, was delayed because of Covid.) One of these teams will be back at Wembley next month to face Manchester City in an equally mouthwatering final.
Chelsea are slight favourites, despite being away from home, but really it’s too close to call. Don’t be surprised if it goes to extra-time, maybe even penalties.
Kick off 12.30pm.