Arsenal beat Villa to reach Women’s League Cup final

6 March 2024 0 By Total Football News

Stina Blackstenius’ first-half hat-trick helped Arsenal secure their place in the Women’s League Cup final with a dominant victory over Aston Villa.

Blackstenius rifled past Anna Leat at the near post after collecting a well-weighted Frida Maanum through ball to give League Cup holders Arsenal the lead after only nine minutes.

The Sweden striker netted again just two minutes later, prodding home from close range after Alessia Russo knocked a Beth Mead cross towards her.

Villa struggled as they were overrun by Arsenal’s energetic attacking and found themselves three goals behind after just 18 minutes with Maanum effortlessly curling a shot into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Blackstenius pounced on a loose ball after Villa failed to clear a corner to complete her hat-trick before the break as Arsenal cruised towards victory.

Villa manager Carla Ward said the first half was “horribly disappointing”.

While her side improved in the second half, their moments of creativity remained fleeting and Arsenal were rarely placed under any real pressure.

“They came out in relentless fashion tonight and when they do they can turn anyone over like they did us in the first half,” Ward told BBC Sport.

“The second half was about pride. We knew the game was done and it was about us going out there and it was roll your sleeves up or roll over time.

“We rolled our sleeves up in the second half and were much better.”

Six-time League Cup winners Arsenal will face the winner of Thursday’s tie between Manchester City and Chelsea (kick-off 19:15 GMT) in the final on Sunday, 31 March, at Molineux.

The Gunners came out comfortably on top, but Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall said his side “can do better”.

“I thought we had some instances where we were sloppy,” he said. “We have to put the demands really high on ourselves.

“We won comfortably in the end, I still don’t think this was our best performance. We can do better than this.”

Controlling victory to reach the final

Arsenal are out of the FA Cup, failed to reach the Champions League group stage and are three points behind in the Women’s Super League title race.

But the League Cup presents a chance for Eidevall’s side to collect a trophy this season – and they displayed their credentials with a convincing thrashing of Villa.

Arsenal attacked down the wings to stretch the visitors’ defence, opening gaps in the middle for Blackstenius and Maanum to attack.

Villa struggled as Arsenal attacked in numbers, losing their defensive shape and allowing the Gunners space to go forward without pressure.

Katie McCabe came close to scoring when she thrashed an effort off the crossbar in the first half, but she also regularly caused problems by sending dangerous deliveries into the Aston Villa box.

Villa never really clicked going forwards and were often dispossessed by Kyra Cooney-Cross and Lia Walti at the base of Arsenal’s midfield on the rare occasions the visitors tried to mount a counter-attack.

The visitors’ torrid evening was worsened by a first-half injury blow, with Kirsty Hanson being forced off before the break.

The fact that Arsenal were so ruthless, converting all of their first-half shots on target, will act as encouragement for Eidevall about his side’s strengths in front of goal as will Blackstenius’ hat-trick after just four goals in 13 league games this season.

The Gunners have history on their side in the League Cup, having won it more times than any other team, and last season it provided Eidevall with his first trophy since becoming manager in June 2021.

They have reached the final again, and in doing so have shown they are a force to be reckoned with.

Line-ups

Arsenal Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 15McCabe
  • 6WilliamsonSubstituted forCodinaat 63′minutes
  • 3Wubben-Moy
  • 7Catley
  • 12MaanumSubstituted forLiaat 90′minutes
  • 13WältiSubstituted forPelovaat 80′minutes
  • 9MeadSubstituted forFoordat 63′minutes
  • 25Blackstenius
  • 32Cooney-Cross
  • 23RussoSubstituted forLittleat 80′minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Little
  • 19Foord
  • 21Pelova
  • 27Codina
  • 40Williams
  • 53Lia
  • 61Earl
  • 86Bouhaddi

Aston Villa Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 21Leat
  • 2Mayling
  • 14Turner
  • 4Patten
  • 33Pacheco
  • 8Nobbs
  • 6CorsieBooked at 39mins
  • 10DaliSubstituted forMullettat 84′minutes
  • 7LehmannSubstituted forMagillat 45′minutes
  • 9Daly
  • 20HansonSubstituted forSalmonat 44′minutes

Substitutes

  • 13Poor
  • 17Salmon
  • 18Mullett
  • 22Magill
  • 34MacPhail
  • 49Sallaway
Referee:
Paul Howard
Attendance:
3,507

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal Women 4, Aston Villa Women 0.

Second Half ends, Arsenal Women 4, Aston Villa Women 0.