Arsenal play away at Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup on Thursday evening. This is the conclusion of last season’s competition and the Gunners booked their place in the semis with a 4-0 victory over Spurs on Saturday evening at Meadow Park. Meanwhile, Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City booked their place with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.
With Chelsea eliminated in their quarter-final, the winner of this game will be favourites to lift the trophy at Wembley on 1st November. Arsenal have started their season with 19 goals in their first three games, easily swotting Reading, West Ham and Spurs to one side. City have beaten Aston Villa and Leicester and drawn with Brighton so far.
? Highlights & Full Match on the FA Player now! ?
— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) September 28, 2020
City have struggled to create chances, they have three goals from open play in their opening three games and two of those came when Georgia Stanway tackled the Aston Villa goalkeeper on the opening day. However, there is little reason to believe that this match will be anything other than a titanic struggle for Joe Montemurro’s side.
They have lost on each of their last three visits to the Academy Stadium, including a narrow 2-1 defeat in February that cost the team Champions League qualification this season. City are the current holders of the FA Cup and, like Arsenal, this represents their only chance of silverware for the 2019-20 season.
Jen Beattie returns to the squad having returned to training on Friday after a four week layoff with a niggling lower back problem. Steph Catley misses out due to a tight calf, while Lia Walti returns after she was rested for the cup tie against Spurs. The Arsenal manager also reports that Jill Roord is 2-3 weeks away from fitness due to a knee injury. Lydia Williams (ankle) is due to return to full training soon.
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal dominated the WSL encounter in February but still managed to lose 2-1 with Danielle van de Donk on the score sheet for Arsenal. They haven’t won at the Academy Stadium since Jordan Nobbs’ 35-yard free-kick in May 2017 gave Arsenal a 1-0 win in the Spring Series.
New signing Chloe Kelly says she has a point to prove against Arsenal following her summer move from Everton. The forward graduated from the Gunners academy but left for Everton in search of more first team football and Chloe says that gives her extra motivation ahead of the semi-final.
“Arsenal are my old club so I’ve got a point to prove against them! Hopefully, I’ll get a goal!” Kelly’s penalty put City en route to victory in the quarter-final over Leicester City, “We showed fight and we did the dirty work. It’s not all about pretty football – sometimes, you have to do the dirty work and we showed we’re capable of doing that. The football will do the talking when it needs to.”
Watch all the best bits from our Women's FA Cup Quarter Final victory over Leicester! ?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 28, 2020
PLAYER TO WATCH
Kim Little’s ability to keep the ball under pressure and drive the team forward will be crucial against City, whose midfield features powerful players like Jill Scott and Sam Mewis. City will look to put Arsenal under pressure in midfield on the ball. Under previous coach Nick Cushing, they surrendered possession to Arsenal and relied on their defence to soak up the pressure and for the midfield to try to force turnovers.
Kim is a very press resistant player with a low centre of gravity, capable of buffeting her way through several challenges at once. That ability will be crucial against City’s midfield press and their defensive block. With Lucy Bronze at right-back the home side are even more set up to spring counter attacks if they are able to force turnovers from Arsenal.
What a goal from @ArsenalWFC!
⚽️ Kim Little
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) September 6, 2020
Subs; 3.Wubben-Moy, 7.van de Donk, 19.Foord, 20.Maier, 21.Gut, 22.Schnaderbeck, 24.Stenson.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match kicks off at 7.15pm on Thursday night and will be screened live on BBC Two in the UK and will be shown on the FA Player app everywhere else.
We’ll have match reaction on the site on Thursday evening, as well as all the usual build-up and reaction to Sunday’s WSL match against Bristol City.