The Vitality Women’s FA Cup is back. The last round of the 2019/2020 competition was played in February but the tournament will finally resume with the remaining eight clubs going into battle this weekend.
Those teams competing in the quarter-finals are Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion, Birmingham City, Leicester City and Manchester City.
After a weekend off due to the international break, we have some domestic cup football to enjoy. Gameweek 2 in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League was filled with high scoring games but what will this weekend bring?
Here is my preview of this weekend’s action in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur
While this derby doesn’t have the same rivalry as the men’s game, it will still be an interesting battle for a place in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup semi-finals. The match is being shown live on BBC Two, which is the first time that a quarter-final tie will be shown on mainstream television.
Arsenal have started this season very well, with two very high scoring matches. Midfielder Jill Roord will be looking to improve her already impressive goalscoring record in this game. Roord is the league’s top scorer with six goals and is returning from a successful spell away with The Netherlands. Arsenal are the most successful club in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup and will be aiming for their 15th win this year.
As for Spurs, they are without a win so far this season but boast the possibility of one of the best strikers in the world making her debut in this important match. Alex Morgan will be looking to wow Tottenham Hotspur fans as she potentially steps out with her new team for the first time on Saturday. Will she be the catalyst for Spurs beating Arsenal? For me, no. Arsenal are in great attacking form and Spurs are shaky at the back but it will be an exciting prospect.
Everton v Chelsea
The Blue Girls have started this season well and are currently sitting in second in the league. They will be hoping to bring this form into the Vitality Women’s FA Cup. In the fifth round, six months ago, Everton beat Bristol City 5-0 which led them to the quarter-final. Sunday’s game is being played at Goodison Park which will be a great experience for these Everton players and a stark change from their usual surroundings at Walton Hall Park.
Chelsea have one win and one draw in the league this year and have real star quality in their team. Attacking stars like Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder and Sam Kerr will be on show against Everton and this could prove too much for the home side’s defence. I predict a Chelsea victory.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Birmingham City
Brighton & Hove Albion succeeded expectations in their last league match against Manchester City and will be hoping for a similar performance against Birmingham City. The Seagulls managed to keep a clean sheet at The Academy Stadium against a star-studded City side. Defensively they were solid but offensively they struggled given the level of opposition. Against Birmingham City, Albion will be looking to be a greater threat in the final third.
Birmingham City on the other hand have lost both of their league games this season and come into the quarter-finals in poor form. They are currently sitting 11th in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table but have done well to get this far in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup, beating Sheffield United and Sunderland away from home. Carla Ward’s side will face a tough battle against a well-drilled Brighton & Hove Albion defence and for this reason, I predict a home win.
Leicester City v Manchester City
As the only FA Women’s Championship side in the quarter-finals, Leicester City will be massive underdogs against holders Manchester City.
Leicester City have been performing well in the FA Women’s Championship but this match may be one step too far. Jonathan Morgan’s side are a relatively young team and are an exciting prospect but they come up against one of the toughest teams in the competition. The Foxes have been in the news recently after legendary Leicester City and England international forward Emile Heskey was announced as an ambassador. Leicester City are aiming to be a Barclays FA Women’s Super League club in the not-so-distant future and his arrival is hoped to push them in that direction.
Current Vitality Women’s FA Cup holders Manchester City will be aiming to record back-to-back successes in the competition this year. Manager Gareth Taylor has made some impressive signings in the transfer window and will hope that this gives them an even greater edge over Leicester City. Rose Lavelle is in contention for a possible debut for Manchester City. Another signing, Lucy Bronze will have a minor injury assessed. I imagine the depth of the City attack will be too much for the FA Women’s Championship side therefore I can only see an away win.
The semi-finals will follow in midweek with both ties set to be broadcast by the BBC.