Kerr scores but Foord and Catley finally lift a trophy

Sam Kerr scored - of course - but this time it was her Matildas teammates Caitlin Foord and Steph Catley who were left celebrating after Arsenal won the women's League Cup final.

The Gunners defeated Kerr's Chelsea 3-1 in London on Sunday, earning their first silverware since Foord and Catley joined the club in 2020.

In front of a competition record 19,010 at Selhurst Park, home of men's Premier League club Crystal Palace, Arsenal rallied after Kerr had scored in the second minute.

Kerr took just 98 seconds to make her mark, the striker meeting a left-wing cross from Norway's Guro Reiten at the far post to head home her 82nd goal in 101 Chelsea matches.

It was also her seventh goal in three matches in this competition this season, and the fifth successive English cup final she has scored in.

Given Chelsea's recent superiority in this capital clash it seemed Kerr would also win her ninth medal since moving to England in 2020.

But, said Chelsea boss Emma Hayes, the early goal led to her side becoming complacent, allowing Arsenal back into the game.

Arsenal's response began on the flanks, with Foord and Catley combining well on the left.

The pressure forced Chelsea back, with unfortunate results for Kerr.

Tracking back, she successfully dispossessed Frida Maanum in the unfamiliar territory of her own penalty area, but the ball deflected to Stina Blackstenius who swept in the equaliser.

Seven minutes later, Arsenal were ahead, Kim Little converting a penalty given after Sophie Ingle tripped Katie McCabe,

Kerr twice had chances to level, but she was tackled by Rafaelle Souza when threatening to go clear, then headed wide from another Reiten cross.

Instead, it was Catley who made the next key intervention, whipping in a 44th minute corner that flew in off Chelsea defender Niamh Charles.

Chelsea responded strongly in the second half but Arsenal held firm and Foord should have been awarded a penalty on the counter-attack just after the hour.

Reaching the ball ahead of Canadian Olympic gold medallist Kadeisha Buchanan she was brought down but neither the referee or assistant, who had a clear view, saw it. There is no VAR in the English women's game.

English champions Chelsea made personnel and tactical changes but could not break through a stubborn defence as Arsenal held on to win the trophy for the sixth time, but for the first time since 2019.

"I saw the fire in Arsenal and I didn't see that in us today," Hayes said. "Arsenal wanted it more."

"The difference was between a team that has won a lot and a team that hasn't."

However, Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall said, "three games in a row we have been the team that created more, it is about quality, not only desire.

"I'm very proud. It was a real test of character after a difficult start and we handled it brilliantly."