It will not be easy for Emma Hayes to enjoy the post-match party given she struggled to get to her feet to celebrate any of the goals, but Chelsea’s manager could be heading into maternity leave by leading her side to a league and cup double while Kiran Rai managed to interview 12 players from both sides Chelsea V Arsenal and had the chance of a lifetime to take a photo with the FA cup trophy with the Chelsea team!
Hayes was many people’s choice to succeed Mark Sampson as England manager when he was sacked last year, but she did not put her name forward for the role and will instead start a family.
To still be at work in her condition is impressive enough, but eight months pregnant, on a sweltering day, Hayes also managed to mastermind a cup final victory, in front of a record domestic crowd for a women’s game, thanks to two second-half goals from Ramona Bachmann and a wonderful solo effort from Fran Kirby.
The 41-year-old had initially been expected to watch the game from the stands, but she could not allow herself to be so detached, instead taking a seat on the edge of the dugout, sipping water throughout, as Chelsea secured only their second FA Cup Final win.
The league title may well follow. Hayes’ side are level on points with their big rivals Manchester City the final four games in the title race will be just as tense. She will hope the twins postpone their arrival long enough to enable her to lead the team until season’s climax.
It was such a dominant performance from us,” said Hayes. “Which was great, because the last thing I needed was anything too nervy. I’ve not been that relaxed for a while in a final.
“We’ve got another important game on Wednesday night and I think my celebrations will be carried out while I’m horizontal. It will probably be different for the others, but I’ve got to make sure I get to Wednesday and I’m able to be involved.”
“The goals came at the perfect time for us, but I think the quality of the goals shows the different between the two sides. I’m just so pleased we’ve done this in front of a record crowd.”
Chelsea deserved their win, the quality of their performance epitomised by England international Kirby, who was by far the best player on the pitch, her sublime third goal killing off an Arsenal comeback before it had gained any real momentum.
The Gunners are English football’s cup specialists, but they were overwhelmed, with Kirby at the centre of everything good about their opponent’s display.