Arsenal searching for Chelsea ‘redemption’ in Conti Cup final

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Arsenal searching for Chelsea ‘redemption’ in Conti Cup final

Arsenal Women are searching for “redemption” as they take on Chelsea in the Conti Cup final on Sunday, according to winger Caitlin Foord.

The Gunners were beaten 3-1 at Stamford Bridge a fortnight ago to leave their WSL title hopes hanging by a thread but can get some measure of revenge at Molineux this weekend.

Arsenal come into this weekend’s final as the Conti Cup holders after beating Chelsea in last year’s final and can deny the Blues what could otherwise end up a domestic treble if they retain the trophy themselves.

Speaking at the launch of adidas’ new Energy Citrus Pack, Foord told Sky Sports the opportunity to make amends for that painful night and get “one up” on Chelsea was a big motivator ahead of Sunday’s game.

Foord was speaking at the launch of Adidas' new Energy Citrus Pack

Image: Foord was speaking at the launch of Adidas’ new Energy Citrus Pack

“It’s a massive game for us, it’s the only trophy left in our hands,” she said. “It’s one we want to keep our hands on after winning it last season.

“We lost to Chelsea last week, so it’s a bit of a second chance, a redemption game. Hopefully we’ll come out holding the Conti Cup again.

“The last game against Chelsea, we weren’t happy with – so it’s about fixing that up, getting it right, and there’s a reward straight after this game.

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Speaking ahead of Sunday’s match, Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall predicted there will be many new rivalries when Emma Hayes departs Chelsea at the end of the season

“It’s always a massive game against Chelsea, it’s always tough. It’s always very competitive, we want to get one up on them and have some silverware to show for this season, this is our last opportunity at getting that. We want to make the most of this season with something to show for it.”

The manner of defeat in their last meeting taught Jonas Eidevall’s side a harsh lesson, with the Gunners’ 3-0 down at half-time despite dominating much of the opening period.

That has stayed fresh in the mind of the Arsenal players, who will look to put on a performance more reminiscent of their 4-1 win over the Blues at the Emirates Stadium in December.

“We played some good football [at Stamford Bridge] but it just didn’t feel like it was our night,” Foord said.

“They took their chances, it’s the team who make the most of their chances who come out on top. We have to be better in front of goal coming into this weekend.”

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Watch highlights of Arsenal’s late win at Aston Villa last time out as the Gunners bounced back from that Chelsea loss in perfect style

Arsenal come into Sunday’s game having bounced back from the disappointment of defeat to Chelsea by beating Aston Villa – just – at Villa Park last weekend.

The hosts led for almost 20 minutes from an Ebony Salmon goal which would remain their only shot on target, before a second-half trio from Victoria Pelova, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Stina Blackstenius earned Arsenal victory.

The sense of relief was palpable, Foord said, as the Gunners made sure they did not let one bad result become a more serious worry in the West Midlands.

“The first half of that game summed up our season; teams have one or two chances and end up scoring,” she said.

“We were well in control of that game, it was just a matter of time. We had plenty of chances before we did score, you could feel the momentum building and that we were going to get a goal.

“Ideally we’d like to score earlier, but that’s the way it pans out sometimes.”

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