Match Report: Arsenal 9-0 Crystal Palace

A grey and drizzly afternoon at Borehamwood saw Arsenal beat out competition Crystal Palace 9-0 in the Vitality FA Women’s Cup 5th Round.

The two teams met in the final game of the season looking to progress to the quarter-finals. Previous FA Cup fixtures saw Arsenal beat Gillingham with a mammoth 10-0 triumph and Crystal Palace victorious over the London Bees with a comfortable 3-0 win.

Women’s Super League side, Arsenal, concluded their domestic league in a strong fashion. The gunners finished in 3rd place on 48 points, narrowly clinching the sought after third Champions League spot.

Championship side, Crystal Palace, finished their campaign favourably in 7th position, ending on a high with a 2-1 home win over Lewes, thus achieving their first back-to-back home wins of the year.

For Arsenal this was not only the final game of the season but also head coach Joe Montemurro’s last match in charge of the North London titans. Montemurro has been at the helm for three and a half years and has won the Conti Cup and the league title during his tenure.

Midfielder, Jill Roord, was also to play her final game in an Arsenal shirt after announcing that she had signed for German side Wolfsburg.

The hosts get us underway as the heavens opened and started hard and strong, keeping the majority of possession in the opening minutes. Arsenal claimed the first goal of the match just beyond the 5-minute mark with a Kim Little penalty after Jordan Nobbs was bundled down in the box.

The gunners continue their tirade with a number of successive dangerous plays but are kept out by some smart defending by Kirst Barton and a low save from Chloe Morgan.

Crystal Palace looked lively in their first break of the match ten minutes in. A loose ball is picked up and sent to Bianca Baptiste who is caught offside.

Arsenal respond with more of the same, demanding the final third with an incredibly high press. Danielle van de Donk turns in the box and fires the gunner’s next clear chance. Morgan makes another strong save.

Palace looked to be rousing a little more now and are hitting Arsenal on the counter. Steph Catley pulls out an excellently well-timed challenge to stop Baptiste in her tracks as the Eagles striker looks to spring forward onto goal.

The gunners once again have the upper hand around the half an hour mark. Successive corners and a continuous press mean the Eagles have a lot of work to do at the back. Nevertheless, they are resilient and Arsenal are yet to widen their lead.

Arsenal loomed once again in and around the area. The Gunners intricacy leads to Danielle van de Donk chipping a ball past the keeper, but the Eagles are able to clear it. Palace then take advantage of Arsenal’s high line by hitting them on the counter with a two-player attack that is eventually cleaned up by Lia Walti.

The Gunners double their lead late in the half as Beth Mead gets on the end of a flick on by van de Donk. The Arsenal have been knocking on the door for a while.

A few minutes later, after meeting a thumping pass from the right flank, van de Donk makes it three for Arsenal. The scoreline at half time reflective of the play.

After a double change from Arsenal, Caitlin Foord kicks things off early in the second half with a shot that just tips over the crossbar.

More loose balls from Arsenal for Palace to claim start to appear ten minutes in. Excellent movement from Ffion Morgan and Baptiste force Manuela Zinsberger into her first real movement of the game. Zinsberger comes off her line and is able to clear comfortably.

Arsenal got a fourth goal after toying with the Eagles for a significant period. Noelle Martitz finds a pocket of space and unleashes a venomous strike that slams the back of the net.

Just a few minutes later, “club legend” as Lisa Evans very eloquently put, Jordan Nobbs, makes it five for the Arsenal from a squared ball in the middle of the area. Morgan had no chance of getting a hand to this one.

In what now seems like a relentless slog from the Eagles, Vivianne Miedema makes it six just after the 80-minute mark. Foord was able to run the right flank before releasing a cross to Miedema who made light work of Palace’s defence.

In the final minutes of the game, Jill Roord takes the gunners tally to seven. A fitting end to her time with the Arsenal.

Before the ninety is up, Noelle Martiz is able to poke home another after space is left by the Eagles once again just inside the area.

Leonie Maier is taken down just outside of the area resulting in a free-kick to Arsenal. Katie McCabe steps up and in true McCabe fashion, slams it home for number nine of the day and Arsenal progress to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Arsenal: Manuela Zinsberger, Anna Patten, Danielle van de Donk (62’), Jordan Nobbs, Beth Mead (62’), Kim Little (c) (45’), Steph Catley (75’), Lia Walti (45’), Noelle Maritz, Caitlin Foord, Leonie Maier
Substitutes: Lotte Wubben-Moy, Leah Williamson (45’), Vivianne Miedema (62’), Jill Roord (62’), Katie McCabe (45’), Lydia Williams, Teyah Goldie (75’)

Arsenal Goals: Little (6’)(p), Mead (39’), van de Donk (44’), Maritz (68’), Nobbs (75’), Miedema (82’), Roord (88’), Maritz (90’), McCabe (90+1’)

Crystal Palace: Chloe Morgan, Annabel Johnson (c), Amber Stobbs (80’), Bianca Baptiste, Elizabeth Waldie, Siobhan Wilson, Kristy Barton, Leeta Rutherford (68’), Coral Haines (68’), Ffion Morgan, Hannah Churchill (62’)
Substitutes: Georgia Clifford (68’), Leigh Nicol, Cherelle Khassal (80’), Andria Georgiou (62’), Emma Gibbon, Ashleigh Goddard (68’)

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