Same Old Sam Kerr: Chelsea's Champion Of Champions Wins Them Another FA Cup

The Australian bagged the winner in Sunday's FA Cup final against Man Utd
13:00, 15 May 2023

It was the inevitability, as much as anything. Manchester United were bossing the game, enjoying all of the possession, commanding all of the territory, but it still never felt like their final to lose. Chelsea had Sam Kerr lurking, and the longer it went on, the more likely she was to have her moment.

And that’s the thing with Sam Kerr. It’s the moments. She’d broken the deadlock against United in Leigh earlier in the season at a time when the Red Devils had won every game and not conceded a single goal, showing all the composure in the world to fake a shot, take an extra second and then slam home.

Away to Arsenal, with the Blues a goal down and struggling to have any influence on the game she popped up in the final moments to drift off the back of England captain Leah Williamson and nod home Jelena Cankovic’s cross.

She scored the clincher against the Gunners in the FA Cup fifth round and the only goal in the semi-final win over Aston Villa. There was also the magnificent chest and lobbed finish from a Lauren James lofted pass which had seen off United in their second league encounter.

All she’s done all season is deliver in the biggest moments. And it’s nothing new, given that she arrived at Wembley for Sunday’s FA Cup showpiece having scored in five successive finals for Chelsea. The sixth was just a matter of time.


After United had dominated the first half without ever looking likely to score, save for Leah Galton’s disallowed effort in the first 20 seconds, the whole match seemed primed for the Sam Kerr Moment. Emma Hayes has a knack of knowing which strings to pull in order to release the great Australian striker, and when she brought on Pernille Harder in the 57th minute she changed the game.

Moments later, Kerr gambled on United centre-half Maya Le Tissier – until then faultless – not getting a clean header on a lofted ball. Cleaning up the loose pass out wide, the Chelsea striker picked the only sliver of a channel she could to square brilliantly for Harder but the Dane couldn’t quite get the ball out of her feet. United were on notice.

Then it came. Hayley Ladd switched off from a throw-in, Harder was released down the right and she centred for Kerr to slam home right footed after stealing a march on Le Tissier. After 67 minutes of United-heavy play, Chelsea had got the better of them yet again.


The final had been decided, and everybody knew it. Even the brilliant BBC commentary pairing of Robyn Cowen and Rachel Brown-Finnis were speaking in the past tense about United’s challenge before having to remind themselves that there were 20 minutes and this, after all, was football.

But for all this great sport’s predictabilities, Sam Kerr had already won the game. She should have had an assist to her name later on when she pulled off the back of Le Tissier, then nutmegged the defender before cutting back to Sophie Ingle but the midfielder blazed the chance over the bar.

And while United threw what they could at Chelsea, Hayes reinforced her back line and rode out the advantage given to her side by the most clinical striker in the game. Marc Skinner and his players must be sick of the sight of her, but Wembley is this woman’s playground.

Two years ago she netted twice as the Blues beat Arsenal 3-0, while last season her repeat brace included the winner in a 3-2 thriller against Manchester City. This time around, in a season blighted by Chelsea injuries which would have hamstrung any other side, Kerr has always been their ballast.

That’s 27 goals in 35 games now in 2022-23. Weighted for importance, it would be nearer 127.


*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject to Change

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