Eriksson urges calm to help repeat perfect FA Cup final

Chelsea Women captain Magdalena Eriksson says staying calm and treating Sunday’s Vitality FA Cup final as ‘just another game’ could be key as she looks to repeat one of her best days in football against Arsenal at Wembley.

The Swede was part of the team that excelled in beating the Gunners 3-1 in 2018 to bring us our second FA Cup title.

Three years on from that memorable victory in front of a competition-record crowd, Eriksson would dearly love a similar result in front of what is expected to be another huge attendance for the 50th Women’s FA Cup final.

‘It was my first really big game in England and it is still to this day one of the best days in my football career,’ the Swede said.

‘The day had everything, the fans, the win, the way we played and the way we celebrated after.

‘It was the perfect experience.’

A total of 45,423 fans witnessed us lift the trophy in 2018, with two superb strikes from Ramona Bachmann and an equally spectacular long-range shot from Fran Kirby securing victory in a thrilling game.

The showpiece game of the domestic season sees the top two teams in the Women’s Super League go head to head and Eriksson says maintaining focus is vital in a game of such magnitude.

'It doesn’t really get any better,’ she said. ‘We are extremely excited. I can feel it amongst the girls coming back after the international break. It will be a great game and we are expecting a big crowd as well.

‘Most of us have realised the greatness of the FA Cup and the history. It is huge in England; you can feel it.

‘But it is about saying it is just another game of football,’ she added. ‘It is nothing to be extra nervous about.

‘The team prepare the same. That is the reason we are at this point and why we have been so successful for so many years. We know Arsenal are a top, top team so it’s going to take that we are 100 per cent ready and focused in everything we do.’

We are just a point behind the Gunners in the WSL table, with both sides having won seven of their eight league fixtures.

Our only league loss came against our undefeated London rivals in our opening fixture of the season.

The away defeat, however, counts for nothing according to Eriksson.
 

‘Since that game we have been in great form as well,’ she said. ‘It’s two teams in top form. It will be anyone’s to grab.

‘We had difficulties with that game because we had just come back from the Olympics. It was a really short turnaround from players who had gone far in the Olympics.

‘Now I think both teams are more in a similar stage of the season.

‘It will be a difficult task. We are well aware of that. They are in great form. But we can show that we have learned from the previous encounter.

‘It’s all about being ready for the day, being ready mentally, physically and tactically - all the components have to be right. Arsenal are a stronger team now, but so are we.’


The match kicks off at 2pm and is live on BT Sport, BBC1, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. Coverage starts at 1.30pm.

Chelsea Women fans can also take part in our 12 Games of Christmas Play Predictor game on The 5th Stand app with more chances to win. Predict every game so that you are in with the chance of winning a £100 Megastore voucher and a Nike Chelsea shirt or football signed by the Women’s squad, while the top scorer each month will take home a £500 Megastore voucher and either a Nintendo Switch, iPad or PS5.

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