EMMA HAYES expects Chelsea to “suffer” in their FA Cup semi-final at Arsenal — but insisted these are the fixtures she relishes.
Sam Kerr’s brace after Fran Kirby’s opener helped Chelsea sweep aside the Gunners 3-0 at Wembley in last season’s delayed showpiece.
The Blues sit one point ahead of Arsenal at the top of the WSL in the race to defend their title.
But Jonas Eidevall’s Gunners have taken four points from two matches against their rivals.
So Chelsea boss Hayes expects a closer contest at Borehamwood today in the race for Wembley on May 15.
She said: “Arsenal have had a tremendous season, they really have.
“We’ve been going neck and neck in every competition with them the whole way.
“We’ve had a lot of battles over the years, I certainly enjoy those games.
“We’re going to have to suffer at points in the game and I’m sure with the threats we’ve got, we will cause problems.
“This is what you go to work for, these moments, these privileged positions and there’s nothing better than competing for a place to play in an FA Cup final.”
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Midfielder Pernille Harder is likely to return but Chelsea said on Friday that England forward Kirby will be out for an indefinite period as she battles ongoing health struggles.
Arsenal have yet to concede a goal in the competition this season and Eidevall is optimistic about their chances.
The Swedish manager said: “If we believe together and do everything in our power together, we can achieve something special.