Manchester City Women v Arsenal Match Preview [FA Cup semi-final]

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THE LOWDOWN
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.

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.

TEAM NEWS
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.

THE OPPOSITION
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.”

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.

PREDICTED LINE-UP

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.

COMING UP
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.

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Matthinc

It’d be massive to win this, City have felt like they’ve had a hex on us recently. Still, I’ve got a good feeling!

Nurul

What are our chances to win tomorrow,tim? Hope the game plan works and everyone play well to win the away game against city

Andy Allsopp

This will be tough. But I have a hunch Joe’s tactical acumen and ability to spot the weaknesses in the opposition’s set up and understand how to exploit them might just see us over the line. We’ll need big performances from Meidema, Little, Nobbs, Mead and Walti and it would be great to have Jen Beattie’s aerial presence and ability back, not that Vikki S has been wanting so far this season.

LGWBailey

I like the comment “low centre of gravity” for Captain Kim, it’s like saying “built low for stability”. Isn’t this the same for DVD? We seem to a few stars like that.

Crash Fistfight

Serious strength in midfield if DVD can be left out.

Also, is that the first choice CB partnership, then? I didn’t realise Beattie was going to be a starter.

owen crompton

the way arsenal have started the season i dont give city much of a chance

Pescetarian

What kind of numpty organisers schedule men’s and women’s games at the same time? Why couldn’t this game have been last night instead of being on at the same time as the men’s team? I know there are a lot of variables to consider but I get the feeling the EFL and the WFA couldn’t be arsed to try harder.

Peter Story Teller

As I’ve said before despite all of the rhetoric stating the support women’s football is being given, in practical terms it is still a second class afterthought. You only have to look at the official Arsenal website where the team profiles have squad members missing and incorrect descriptions of those that have managed to make it to the website to see how much of an inconvenience these pesky women are. If Arsenal as a club cannot even promote their (very successful) women’s team well, what chance have we got with the FA etc? Don’t even get me started on how… Read more »

laparrot

Wish I could give this comment at least 10 thumbs up!

Teedee

Exactly. I support my local women’s team Dulwich Hamlet who are in the sixth tier. They cannot even get the fixtures right on theIr website and fixtures change date willy nilly all the time.
I’m sorry to say it but until men’s attitudes change women’s football will just be a sideshow, even the professional teams.

Fun Gunner

And the sodding calendar syncing doesn’t work for the AWFC matches.

Fun Gunner

Just exactly what I was saying! It’s not just us (Everton’s and Man City’s Carabao and Women’s FA Cup games on at the same time) and not just the Cup games – we’re on at the same time on Sunday as well. They could just as easily have scheduled our semi final for yesterday and the Everton-Birmingham one for today, surely.

Fun Gunner

Good luck, girls!