Kirby relaxed and embracing FA Cup challenge

Chelsea Women’s record goalscorer Fran Kirby is thriving on the challenge of chasing silverware on all fronts as she looks to help us win the FA Cup for the third time in our history today.

We take on London rivals Arsenal at Wembley in the delayed 2021 Vitality FA Cup final, hoping to secure a domestic treble for last season.

Kirby has continued her scintillating form into this campaign, scoring 10 goals from 14 appearances and becoming the first Blues Women player to surpass 100 goals for the club.

‘I’m really enjoying it and feel like I am in a good space at the moment,’ the England striker said.

‘When you play with world-class players it only increase your ability. You have to get alongside them and perform at their level. It doesn’t matter who I am playing with in that front line, I know I am playing with quality players.’

The relentless nature of competing for all trophies means there has been little chance to recuperate, and the international break has seen even more travelling and games for the vast majority of the squad.

‘Coming after the internationals you have to see where everyone is at and how they are feeling but everyone is in a really good place mentally and physically,’ said Kirby, 28.

‘It can drain you but everyone is feeling good, positive and really focused for the game. That is something that we have grown as a team. We know our way of playing and the style of play. We can switch focus from internationals to club.’

That focus is very much on facing the Gunners – the only team to have beaten us in 14 games so far this season. The London derby brings up some wonderful memories for Kirby, who scored a stunning goal in our 3-1 Wembley win over them in the 2018 final.

‘I really enjoyed that final,’ she added. ‘The mentality going in was that we were all extremely focused and ready.

‘It’s an honour to score at Wembley. It’s something you dream about growing up. The goal and winning the trophy was really special. Scoring and winning and Wembley - there is no better feeling than that.

‘I’m really excited. We will try to approach it like any other game and not get too caught up in it. We have to have a calmness and focus on ourselves and what we can control and not think about any outside noise.

‘Coming after the internationals you have to see where everyone is at and how they are feeling but everyone is in a really good place mentally and physically,’ said Kirby, 28.

‘It can drain you but everyone is feeling good, positive and really focused for the game. That is something that we have grown as a team. We know our way of playing and the style of play. We can switch focus from internationals to club.’

That focus is very much on facing the Gunners – the only team to have beaten us in 14 games so far this season. The London derby brings up some wonderful memories for Kirby, who scored a stunning goal in our 3-1 Wembley win over them in the 2018 final.

‘I really enjoyed that final,’ she added. ‘The mentality going in was that we were all extremely focused and ready.

‘It’s an honour to score at Wembley. It’s something you dream about growing up. The goal and winning the trophy was really special. Scoring and winning and Wembley - there is no better feeling than that.

‘I’m really excited. We will try to approach it like any other game and not get too caught up in it. We have to have a calmness and focus on ourselves and what we can control and not think about any outside noise.

A third FA Cup victory in our history would also be our third in six years. Kirby was at the club in 2015, having just joined, but was cup tied and did not feature in the final.

‘We want to get the trophy back,’ Kirby added. ‘It’s been a couple of years now.

‘The feeling of playing at Wembley is amazing and the feeling of walking out onto the pitch when there is a crowd there is incredible. You do have that moment where you go "wow, this is massive".

‘But as soon as you get on the pitch and the whistle blows it is down to business and trying to win the game. Hopefully we come away with the trophy and after the game people can take it in and appreciate what we have achieved. But until that moment you know you have to be on it.'

You can catch all the action in the build-up to kick-off with our live Instagram show from 11:30 with hosts Anne-Marie Batson, Daisy Allen and Max Jones.

The match kicks off at 2pm and is live on BT Sport and BBC One and we will also have live updates across our social channels.


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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