It is fifth-round weekend in the Women’s FA Cup too, and tickets will be available at the stadium for Chelsea’s meeting with Arsenal at Kingsmeadow today.
Kick-off is 2pm and here is our preview of the match…
Chelsea Women come into this game after back-to-back meetings with Manchester City, which should stand us in good stead for the visit of another of the WSL’s top sides. Although the Citizens beat us in the Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final, it was a different story in the league match a few days later in the North-West. Although we trailed 2-0 at half-time, a spirited fightback was rewarded with a point thanks to a brace from Ji So-Yun, who moves on to six goals for the season from 20 appearances.
Arsenal had the weekend off, so their last game was the Conti Cup semi at home to Manchester United last Thursday, which they won 2-1 to secure a repeat of last season’s final. Vivianne Miedema scored their two goals. They remain second in the WSL standings, two points off Man City but with games in hand.
PREVIOUS FA CUP MEETINGS
This is the first time we have met Arsenal this early in the FA Cup since the WSL era began in 2011. Of course, no Blues fan needs reminding of our last game against them in this competition, as we defeated them at Wembley Stadium last May to win the trophy for the second time.
A brace from Ramona Bachmann and a wonderful finish from Fran Kirby secured a convincing win for the Blues in front of a competition-record crowd of more than 45,000 supporters at the national stadium, and Chelsea’s two frontwomen shone after the interval as Bachmann scored twice in quick succession before Kirby sealed the deal in the 76th minute.
It was a repeat of the 2016 final, when Danielle Carter's spectacular strike early on was enough to win the Gunners the trophy. The Blues had plenty of chances in front of what was then a record crowd of 32,912 supporters, but Carter's moment of brilliance after 18 minutes settled the final in the Gunners' favour.
Former Arsenal skipper Katie Chapman and another ex-Gunner, Gemma Davison, were on target in a 2-1 win in the Women's FA Cup quarter-final and the latter scored there in the league, too. The victories helped us to win our first major silverware as we finished the campaign as league and cup winners.
A year earlier there was an epic semi-final between the sides. We led twice in normal time through Ji and Yuki Ogimi, only to be pegged back twice, with the Gunners eventually recording a 5-3 win in extra-time.
We reached our first-ever Women’s FA Cup final in 2012 by beating Arsenal in the last four. Helen Bleazard’s stunning strike gave us the lead at Griffin Park and Dunia Susi sealed the win late on. We went on to be defeated by Birmingham City on penalties in the final.
STORY OF THE FOURTH ROUND
The Blues began our defence of the Women’s FA Cup with a 2-0 win at Everton in what was perhaps the trickiest tie of the fourth round. Dogged defending and excellent goalkeeping kept the Toffees in it, but their rearguard was finally breached when Drew Spence finished off a fine counter-attacking moved. Hannah Blundell’s late tap-in sealed the win.
Arsenal were afforded the luxury of giving full debuts to five players against Crawley Wasps, with one of them, 16-year-old Ruby Grant, marking the occasion with a hat-trick. Kim Little also scored for the Gunners as they ran out 4-0 winners.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Those not in attendance this afternoon can follow the action 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.
PREVIOUS MEETINGS THIS TERM
Arsenal were knocked off the top of the WSL table when we met them in January, thanks to a brilliant 2-1 victory for the Blues. Erin Cuthbert was on target twice, netting a towering header and a thumping volley either side of half-time, although it was a nervy ending to the game after Miedema scored late on.
The Gunners did, however, inflict our first defeat of the season back in October, when we were beaten 5-0 on a miserable day at Kingsmeadow.
MIDWEEK ACTION AT KINGSMEADOW
You don’t have to wait long to see us in action again at our home stadium. The next league match takes place in KT1 against Bristol City on Wednesday 20 February. Tickets are available online and all supporters will pick up a free Chelsea FC scarf on the night.