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Beth Mead on Arsenal, FA Cup final and why she’s still ‘her own worst enemy’

Maybe it’s saying that when Beth Mead asked to reflect on her sensational start to the season, her mind focused on a brief moment of inaccuracy in a match that has, for others, been long forgotten. .

“I am my own worst enemy,” Arsenal first admit first FA Cup Final 2020-21 on Sunday and her biggest game of the season so far. “I scrutinize myself and, as a player, you’re only as good as your last game.”

Few people, however, get off to a campaign start as well as Mead, or are driven by a desire to improve themselves and prove her doubters wrong.

Mead has been outspoken this season about how shocked she is in the UK’s Olympics squad this summer which, coupled with increased competition for places at Arsenal, has fueled she “on another device” – and the results of that were spectacular.

Starting with a home brace against Chelsea on the opening day of the Women’s Super League, the 26-year-old’s goal contributions have helped Arsenal break into the top of the table, while at international level she He set himself on the British team’s record. book by becoming the first woman to score a hat-trick at Wembley.

“Personally, I would say I want to settle down as a player this season,” said Mead The Independent. “I’ve been in great form, but I have to stay in that form and keep that form now.” The message, subtle but purposeful, is that more is needed.

However, there couldn’t be a better stage than Sunday, when Arsenal face Chelsea in the first leg final at Wembley. The match between the top two teams in the WSL will be fitting for the first ever Women’s FA Cup final to be played in front of fans in two and a half years.

The same goes for Mead, Sunday’s rivals and venues recalling memories of her season so far, linking those standout performances for club and country, particularly especially the historic treble in 15 minutes for the Lionesses against Northern Ireland in October.

“It’s still crazy,” Mead said. “My mom and dad told me, ‘You’ve made history and no one can take that away from you’. I have to pinch myself about that. Great memories and memories that I will keep for the rest of my life. Another hat-trick followed this week, one in four scored by England players in a record 20-0 win over Latvia in Doncaster.

In a 3-2 win over reigning WSL champions Chelsea on opening day, a result that ensured Arsenal remained ahead of the Blues in the table, Mead said: “The first game of the season is always tough. Not everyone is up to speed with new tactics and new players – but Chelsea is now. We know the threats Chelsea pose to us. They are a great team and we are in a very difficult game. “

Arsenal and Chelsea meet again on Sunday

(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal have won a record 14 FA Cups but none since 2016, with a defeat to Chelsea in the 2018 final, in which Mead played the whole game. Mead added that losing the FA Cup final was “heartbreaking”, and she admitted Arsenal had allowed Arsenal the chance to do better. It remains the only domestic trophy she has yet to win with the Gunners, and it’s a competition that has a special place in her heart.

“When I was younger, it was one of the highlights of my year getting to the Women’s FA Cup final,” Mead said. “It’s interesting that the game that excites me is Sunderland vs Arsenal [in 2008]. I’m 14 years old and Arsenal came out as winners but guys like Jordan [Nobbs]Lucy Bronze and Demi Stokes were in Sunderland at the time. A few years later I signed to play for Sunderland and I remember after joining they all ended up at Manchester City and Arsenal, and that’s what I wanted to do. Luckily I’ve been to Arsenal and I love every minute of it but being in that cup final is a ‘meaning’ thing. “

After the international break, Arsenal face a seismic five days in which they will attempt to win their first FA Cup in five years before hosting European champions Barcelona and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas at the Women’s Champions League at the Emirates on Thursday.

Will the Gunners face two of Europe’s best teams in the space of a week? “It’s going to be a very, very difficult few days,” Mead laughed. “For me, Barcelona is the best team in the world right now and Chelsea are not far behind. But that’s why you play football, take part in these matches with the best players and teams in the world. Interesting. ”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/womens_football/beth-mead-arsenal-fa-cup-final-b1969195.html Beth Mead on Arsenal, FA Cup final and why she’s still ‘her own worst enemy’

JACLYN DIAZ

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