Chelsea Women's defence of the FA Cup begins later today, away at Everton, and here we bring you an in-depth preview ahead of the big game...
Our fantastic 11-match winning run, which stretched back to October, may have come to an end against Birmingham City last weekend, but the next seven days offers up a chance to build momentum once again in three different competitions.
Erin Cuthbert continued her excellent recent form in the game against our fellow Blues, scoring her second brace in succession, a fortnight on from her match-winning turn against Arsenal. However, on this occasion her goals at either end of the contest were not enough to earn us any points as we succumbed to a late strike by Ellen White.
This will be only the third match of 2019 for Everton, who began the year with a 3-0 defeat at Kingsmeadow and then followed that up a week later by drawing 0-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion. They are second from bottom in the WSL standings, with five points from 12 matches, and their Continental Tyres League Cup campaign ended at the group stage.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Those not attending today’s 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.
LAST YEAR’S RUN
The Blues are, of course, defending the FA Cup after winning the competition as part of our second domestic Double since 2015. We made a goal-laden start to our run to Wembley, hitting double figures against London Bees, which was followed by a comprehensive victory over Doncaster at Kingsmeadow.
Then, after beating Liverpool in the last eight, Fran Kirby netted a brace to send us into a third FA Cup final in four years. The England striker was on target again in the final, following a fabulous brace from Ramona Bachmann, to secure the trophy for the second time in our history.
ELSEWHERE IN THE FA CUP
Clubs from the top two tiers of English football have entered this season’s competition at the fourth-round stage, and here are a selection of the other 14 ties taking place today, with Manchester City versus Watford the only match already played.
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United
Yeovil Town v Birmingham City
Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur
Millwall v Lewes
Crawley Wasps v Arsenal
EARLIER THIS SEASON
This will be our third game against the Toffees this term. We travelled to Southport in September and were held to a third consecutive goalless draw to start our defence of the WSL title, but the return match at Kingsmeadow last month was an altogether more enjoyable experience. Bethany England’s early goal set the tone and further strikes from Drew Spence and Hannah Blundell gave us a 3-0 win.
Magda Eriksson settled the contest when we travelled to Everton last April, as we took an early lead and held on for a vital win in the title race. Her glanced header from a Ramona Bachmann free-kick went in off the bar and we kept them out to record a 1-0 victory.
Prior to that, our last visit to the home of the Toffees came in June 2014 when Eniola Aluko, opened the scoring in a 2-1 win. Ana Borges netted the winner in the second half.
Trips to the blue half of Merseyside in the WSL era were pretty miserable before that and we lost four on the bounce, including one in the Continental Cup. England striker Toni Duggan, who now plays for Barcelona, opened the scoring in all four matches.
SEE THE BLUES AT KINGSMEADOW
There are at least two opportunities to see the Blues in action at our KT1 home this month. On Wednesday night we host Manchester City in a Continental Tyres League Cup semi-final, with the winners going on to face Manchester United or Arsenal in the final at Bramall Lane on Saturday 23 February.