Chelsea’s defence of the Women’s FA Cup takes the Blues up to Durham for a noon Sunday kick-off. Here is what you need to know ahead of the match…
Chelsea made light work of difficult conditions on Merseyside to record a comprehensive victory over Liverpool in midweek. Fran Kirby scored twice in the first half as Emma Hayes’ side dominated. That continued after the break. Our No.14’s hat-trick, her 16th goal of the season, came shortly after the start of the second half and the fourth goal came with the referee poised to blow the full-time whistle. Adelina Engman was the scorer with a well-placed header.
The result continued our winning run, which now stands at three after we beat Arsenal in the FA Cup and Bristol City prior to the recent international break.
Durham are one of four clubs pushing for promotion from the Championship this season, with their FA Cup run coming during their best spell of the campaign. Their last defeat was at the start of December and since then they have won five and drawn two, including four successive victories. The most recent of those was against London Bees in the league, while they have beaten Cardiff and Bristol City to reach this stage of the FA Cup.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Those who have not taken up the club's subsidised coach travel up to the North-East and are not attending the game can still keep up to date with the matchday experience via our social media channels. There will be live text commentary on our Twitter page, regular updates on Facebook and for behind-the-scenes footage, make sure you check out our matchday Instagram Story. Simply search 'ChelseaFCW' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
ROAD TO THE LAST EIGHT
We began our defence of a trophy we have won twice in the past four years with a trip to Everton. Second-half goals from Drew Spence and Hannah Blundell earned us a well-deserved 2-0 win, but only after Toffees goalkeeper Kirsty Levell had frustrated us for much of the tie. However, Spence finished off a well-worked counter-attacking goal just after the hour mark to open the scoring before Blundell tapped home from close-range in added on time to seal the victory to secure a fifth-round tie at home to Arsenal.
In a repeat of last season's final, the Gunners were simply no match for the Blues as striker Bethany England scored either side of half-time and Jonna Andersson smashed home a sensational strike. England put us ahead early, as the Blues capitalised on an Arsenal mistake and Erin Cuthbert teed up our No.15 for a tidy finish, and it was 2-0 by the break after Andersson had rifled in her goal. The third was great finishing by England with an hour of the game gone, as she raced onto the through-ball and made no mistake.
OTHER QUARTER-FINAL TIES
Our game is the only early kick-off in the FA Cup today, with the other three ties all taking place at the more familiar time of 2pm. Aston Villa host West Ham United, whom we meet in our next home WSL fixture at the end of March; Manchester City are at home to Liverpool in the only all-WSL tie; and Manchester United travel to Reading.
Should we progress, keep your eyes peeled for the semi-final draw, which will be broadcast live on BBC Breakfast (BBC One & BBC iPlayer) from 8.30am on Monday.
This will be our first meeting with Durham, although we are no strangers to the North-East after regularly coming up against Sunderland during the Black Cats' time as a WSL side. Our most recent visits to this part of the world came in 2017 and both ended in resounding victories. We won 7-0 on our way to lifting the Spring Series trophy, with both Kirby and Cuthbert bagging a brace apiece, and then in September it was a familiar story as we fired in six.
Gemma Davison scored twice, but the pick of the goals was an outrageous effort by Ji, as she Cruyffed her way past a defender before curling an unstoppable effort in off the bar.
Secure your seat for our home Women's Champions League match against PSG or the last home league game of the season when the Women host West Ham on Sunday 31 March. Tickets are half-price (£3 adults & £1.50 juniors).
Any Chelsea fans attending the away game against PSG on Wednesday 27 March can apply for free tickets.