Chelsea v Arsenal: ‘Outplayed Blues proved greatness’ in League Cup final win

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Chelsea lost in the semi-finals of the League Cup in both 2018 and 2019 before reaching their first final this year

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes says beating an Arsenal side that “out-footballed” her Blues to lift the Continental League Cup proved how great her team is.

Beth England's injury-time winner clinched Saturday's final after her early opener had been cancelled out by Leah Williamson.

Chelsea's Ann-Katrin Berger had made a string of saves to frustrate Arsenal, who dominated possession and chances.

“The better team did not win, the most resilient team won,” Hayes said.

“I value defending and resilience and it isn't always about being the best team, it isn't always about possessing the ball the most.

“We won't be talking in three years' time about that dominant Arsenal performance, they will say ‘Chelsea won'.

“To win the game knowing that they dominated, they out-possessed us and they out-footballed us, for me, shows what a great team we really are.”

Saturday's dramatic victory at Nottingham Forest's City Ground saw Hayes' side lift the League Cup for the first time, in their first final, and deny Arsenal a sixth success in nine seasons in the competition.

In lifting the English season's first piece of major silverware, Hayes added to her two league titles and two Women's FA Cups.

The Blues, who could yet win a domestic treble this term, were grateful to German goalkeeper Berger for numerous excellent saves, including two first-class close-range stops to keep out Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema.

“She was unbelievable,” Hayes said of Berger.

“There are a lot of players here that have never won a trophy before. Ann is one of them, she is someone who has always finished second. So it mattered. She came to the club to win trophies.

“We always talk about attacking being the most dominant feature of a football match, instead of saying ‘why don't Chelsea deserve to win the game on the basis of an outstanding goalkeeping performance?'

“To do it and still come through makes me really proud of my players.”

I won't go away from my style – Montemurro

Joe Montemurro's Arsenal have now lost three times this season to Chelsea, who also completed a league double over the Gunners

For Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro, whose team lifted this trophy in his first season in England in 2018, Saturday's narrow defeat came 12 months after losing on penalties to Manchester City in last year's final.

The Australian coach's side built up pressure before Williamson's close-range finish five minutes from time looked set to send the game to extra time or even propel Arsenal to a comeback victory in 90 minutes, but Chelsea won it on the counter in stoppage time.

The injury-hit Gunners impressed with their midfield passing and neat build-up play but, after the game, Montemurro was asked if he has considered changing to a more direct style.

“I'm hearing that I'm very, very stubborn and I am, because I will never play a transition game, I'm really sorry,” the 50-year-old replied.

“It's not my style. It's not my way. I believe in having the ball.

“I'm going to keep playing football. We have the players to play good football. I won't go away from my style.

“If it's the end of me, it's the end of me, but I've got to stick true to my values and Arsenal's values.

“I'm so proud of the way we play. That's important to us, but in the end you're going to judge me on winning trophies.

“The pundits are all going to have a go at me for small squads and so on. In the end that's the way it goes.

“They had three chances and they scored two goals. We scored one. That was the difference.

“In the end, the history books will say Chelsea won and we lost, that's the reality, we just have to make sure we're there again next year.”

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