Women’s FA Cup Final – Arsenal v Everton: End of an era for the Gunners?

By Michelle Owen. Everton and Arsenal go head to head in the Women’s FA Cup final this weekend, with The Gunners still reeling from the recent news that manager Shelley Kerr is to leave after this game.

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Kerr took charge last year in February, replacing Laura Harvey who moved to US side Seattle Reign. Harvey left big boots to fill, having won three consecutive league titles, two Continental Cups and one FA Cup. The bar was set extremely high and there had been a general consensus that there would be a slight period of transition.

Kerr guided the club to a credible third place finish in her first season in charge, with Liverpool taking the title and Bristol Academy finishing a close second. The Gunners beat the latter in the FA Cup final to win the competition for the 12th time, whilst also winning the Continental Cup for the third successive year.

This season has been very different thus far. The club are currently rock bottom of WSL1 with just a single point, with any feint chances of being title contenders looking increasingly doubtful following defeats to Birmingham and Bristol Ladies in recent weeks. Add to this their recent exit from the Champions League Quarter final following defeat to Birmingham, and the pressure has been mounting. However, despite facing these setbacks, Kerr has guided the club to yet another FA Cup final and will be hoping to end her tenure with a final piece of silverware on Sunday.

On the face of it, two trophies in a season seems a pretty decent record. But this is Arsenal Ladies. Standards are exceptionally high. There has not been a specific reason for Kerr’s departure, with Kerr herself quoted as saying “it is the right time to move on” and the club issuing a statement “to thank Shelley for her contribution to the club, and to wish her the very best for the future. The club will now begin the process of recruiting a new Arsenal Ladies manager and will make an announcement once an appointment has been made.”

The league now takes a break until the end of June. Winning the FA Cup final on Sunday would be the perfect send off for Kerr, plus a massive confidence boost for Arsenal as they search to kickstart their season. The rumour mill is awash with names of potential candidates, most notably former England boss Hope Powell, former Arsenal skipper Jayne Powell and also current Estonia manager Keith Boanas.

Who do you think will be the next Arsenal manager? Can the Gunners turn it around and mount a WSL title challenge?

Follow @MichelleOwen7

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