Chelsea continue on our quest of defending the Women’s FA Cup when we travel to the North-West to face Manchester City with a 3.30pm kick-off. Here’s all the details you need to know…
This will be the first match back for the Blues since the international break, when players took to the field of play for their countries in warm-up friendlies, with the majority preparing for the Women’s World Cup this summer.
Prior to the international duties, Emma Hayes’ side produced a fantastic result in the Women’s Champions League taking them to the semi-finals after beating last season’s finalists PSG 3-2 on aggregate, in an extremely dramatic fashion.
The first leg played at Kingsmeadow was comfortably sealed by two goals from Hannah Blundell and Erin Cuthbert. The second leg could not have been any more different, with PSG scoring two quick-fire goals in the second half. Maren Mjelde saved the day when she netted an injury-time screamer which sent Chelsea through for the second year running.
Opponents Manchester City are in the Women’s Super League title race alongside Arsenal having won 13 and drawn five out of 18 games in the league campaign. They have already bagged themselves silverware this season after clinching the Continental Tyres Cup by winning 4-2 on penalties against the Gunners. City’s last defeat was back in September when they exited the Women’s Champions League after suffering a 2-0 loss to Atletico Madrid. Their most recent victory was at the Academy Stadium on 31 March where they overcome Liverpool 2-1 in the nick of time, courtesy of an injury-time winner from Jennifer Beattie.
How to follow
The club are providing subsidised coach travel priced at just £10, departing from pick up points Kingsmeadow at 8.45am and Stamford Bridge at 9.15am – Click here to book your place.
Those who are not making the trip up to the North-West can still keep up to date with how the match day unfolds 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 match-day Instagram Story. Simply search 'ChelseaFCW' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
However, after the phenomenal scenes produced in the French capital, we had to quickly come back down to earth, re-gain focus and play our final home game of the Women’s Super League against West Ham. Despite this fixture being a special day for Drew Spence, who celebrated 10 years in the Chelsea team, it ended with a disappointing draw after ex-Blues player Gilly Flaherty cancelled out Beth England’s opening header.
The journey to the semi-final
Chelsea began our FA Cup defence with a journey to the blue side of Merseyside where we faced Everton. Second-half goals from our Academy graduates, Drew Spence and Hannah Blundell, got us a well-deserved 2-0 victory. Spence opened the scoring just after the 60-minute point, topping off a well-worked counter-attack, followed by Blundell’s close-range effort in added time to secure progression to the next round of the competition.
The fifth round was an early repeat of last year’s final when the Blues played Arsenal and the Gunners were no match for Emma Hayes’ side who were relentless from the get-go. Beth England scored a brace and Jonna Andersson struck sweetly. England gave us an early lead as the Blues took advantage of an Arsenal mistake, enabling Erin Cuthbert to set up our No.15. Before the break we earnt a two-goal cushion thanks to Andersson smashing home and the third was a great finish from England, in which she made no mistake to a slot her effort past the Arsenal keeper.
Next in line was Championship side Durham, who put up a fight and provided an extremely competitive encounter in front of their home fans. Although Chelsea enjoyed the majority of possession throughout and created the better opportunities, it was the blustery conditions which proved to be the main problem. It took the team almost a half-hour to shoot on target and it turned out to be the decisive moment, meriting the Blues a semi-final spot. Erin Cuthbert was the creator, clipping a ball into the box which evaded everyone and fell to Ji, who showed great composure to steady herself and confidently finish past Hannah Reid.
The other semi-final fixture
The other FA Cup semi-final tie takes place at an earlier time of 12.30pm between Reading and West Ham United. Reading saw of Manchester United with a closely fought 3-2 victory and West Ham won 1-0 against Aston Villa.
This will be the 17th encounter between Chelsea and Man City, with three of those being in this 2018/19 season. The Blues’ league opener was against City at Kingsmeadow, where it finished goal-less resulting in a point apiece. They then put a halt to our Continental Cup quest after Nikita Parris got a double in the semi-final, and were eventual winners of the competition. Exactly a week later, Chelsea took the trip to the Academy Stadium but this time in the league and once again went toe-to-toe with City, coming away with just a point from a 2-2 draw.
It is evident from previous results that the Blues record against City leaves room for improvement and out of the 16 encounters, it has been City who have got the better of the Blues with six victories, whereas we have won five and drawn five. Importantly however, it is worth noting that Chelsea have knocked City out at the FA Cup semi-final stage three times previously.
We have not registered a victory against Nick Cushing’s side since this time last year when we reached the final of the FA Cup due to Fran Kirby’s brace. Firstly, the forward took advantage of Steph Houghton’s misjudge of a long ball and then in the second half she pounced on a similar defensive error, burst clear and calmly slotted home.
Come and support the Blues at Kingsmeadow
The final opportunity of this season to see the Blues at the home will not disappoint! On Sunday 28 April, we host French giants and five time Champions League winners, Lyon. The opposition are the holders and will be looking to defend the trophy in the second-leg of the semi-final.
Magda Eriksson has been nominated for March's PFA WSL Player of the Month award. Fans can vote the Chelsea defender here.