Predictions, key battles, and extra


It is nearly becoming that the Women’s FA Cup remaining will see Manchester City and Chelsea do battle once more. The 2 sides already confronted off within the Continental Cup remaining in March, and so they’ve every been on fairly the run of type — Metropolis have gained their final 13 video games and Chelsea their final 11 coming into Sunday’s showdown.

Whereas Metropolis gained the Conti Cup handily, 3-1, however they could not catch Chelsea within the league because the Blues held off Arsenal on the ultimate matchday to take the Women’s Super League title. However who can have the higher hand within the FA Cup?

ESPN’s Tom Hamilton, Kathleen McNamee, Connor O’Halloran and Sophie Lawson have a look forward to the match and supply their predictions for what may be in retailer.

Coming into the sport, which head-to-head battle is most attention-grabbing?

Hamilton: It will be fascinating to see how Chelsea take care of the specter of Lauren Hemp. She has 5 targets in 5 video games throughout all competitions for Metropolis in a ahead lineup together with Ellen White and Khadija Shaw, who’re each additionally on hearth. Chelsea’s 3-5-2 formation means it will be a mixture of Jess Carter and Niamh Charles, who’ll be marshalling Hemp on that facet of the pitch, whereas Erin Cuthbert and Millie Bright can even be available to nullify that risk.

McNamee: I am excited to see the affect that each midfields have. We all know Man Metropolis and Chelsea are stacked up entrance with spectacular scorers, however I believe the midfield space is someplace that each groups have checked out to assist them get by way of troublesome intervals. I will be curious to see how the likes of Caroline Weir and Georgia Stanway withstand Chelsea’s Ji Soyun and Cuthbert.

O’Halloran: There are any variety of attainable solutions to this, however for me it is Lucy Bronze vs. Jonna Andersson/Guro Reiten. The England worldwide was key a part of the second-half turnaround in March’s Conti Cup win over Chelsea. Initially nullified within the first interval, Bronze was in a position to get ahead and discover house within the second and permit Metropolis’s dynamic entrance three to essentially trigger injury. It is going to be attention-grabbing to see how Chelsea can preserve her quiet, and Bronze might be a lot busy in defence, too.

Lawson: It’s kind of of a cop-out, however for me it is concerning the common wrestling for possession and the way the press/counter-press performs out all through the match — so it finally ends up being workforce vs. workforce moderately than participant vs. participant. That being stated, with how far Carter has come because the begin of the season, I believe it is going to be enjoyable to see who wins the battle between her and Hemp.

Why will not this be a repeat of Man Metropolis’s Conti Cup win?

Hamilton: Metropolis had come out of their tough spell whereas Chelsea have been nonetheless within the midst of an harm disaster when the 2 met. Emma Hayes’ Chelsea have been with out Cuthbert (who’s indispensable of their system), the good Fran Kirby, nor Jessie Fleming in March. Whereas Kirby is a doubt for the weekend, the others are again and firing.

There’s additionally a further emotional facet to this match for Chelsea — the likes of Soyun and Drew Spence might be leaving on the finish of the season and so they’ll need to give them an incredible ship off. And likewise from a Metropolis perspective, they’re most likely taking part in higher now than they have been then.

McNamee: Either side have been at very completely different phases of their season when Metropolis beat Chelsea. The London facet can have been buoyed by their WSL win on the ultimate day and Metropolis might be seeking to show that they’re higher than their third-place end. Metropolis might be going through a harder Chelsea facet than they did within the Conti Cup and have confronted a league defeat to them since then.

O’Halloran: Either side are in white-hot type — Chelsea have been flawless during the last 11 video games in all competitions since that Conti Cup remaining defeat, whereas Metropolis’s successful streak stems even additional again than that. The truth is, the final defeat each of those sides suffered was to one another. It is arduous to choose a clear-cut winner, not to mention by a two-goal margin.

Lawson: Chelsea, and notably Hayes, have a little bit of a, “idiot me as soon as …” mentality — and for the best way Man Metropolis fought again in what’s, mainly, Chelsea’s again backyard, I simply cannot see the Blues not in search of some extent of revenge. On the very least, I can simply think about Hayes sticking Sophie Ingle on Weir to nullify the Scot’s means to dictate Metropolis’s assault.

Which facet wants the win probably the most?

Hamilton: For Metropolis, a victory right here will full a home cup Double and add a lighter shade of blue to the English season. It will be an announcement victory and an indication of intent forward of subsequent season if Metropolis are to assert the FA Cup remaining on Sunday, for what can be their third triumph in 4 years.

For Chelsea, it will cement their dominance, finishing a back-to-back league and FA Cup Double. They’d head into subsequent season because the workforce to beat, with eyes on transferring that home sweep into type on the European stage. Simply three different groups have finished the WSL/FA Cup Double, displaying simply how arduous it’s. You need to say that Metropolis have to win this Cup greater than Chelsea to bloody their nostril forward of subsequent time period.

McNamee: A win for Chelsea would assert their dominance within the English recreation, whereas a win for Metropolis would present that they’ve recovered from their early season difficulties. A Metropolis win would additionally doubtless present extra of a development for that workforce after two defeats to Chelsea within the league and reveal that the Conti Cup win wasn’t only a one-off big-event win for the facet.

O’Halloran: When the discuss of legacy comes up, it is arduous to look previous Chelsea. After a disappointing group stage exit of this yr’s Champions League, a home Double would preserve the nice occasions rolling in West London. Hayes’ Chelsea are right here to construct a dynasty, so two cup remaining defeats to Metropolis in a single season would actually sting.

Lawson: It is shut but it surely’s obtained to be Metropolis who want this extra. Chelsea have simply claimed their third successive league title and have been the higher workforce within the Champions League during the last couple of seasons; throughout the board, since their lone league title (in 2016) Metropolis have misplaced floor.

With three FA Cup remaining wins every and Man Metropolis by no means having misplaced within the remaining, if Metropolis can declare their fourth earlier than Chelsea do, it is going to be an enormous psychological increase for them going into subsequent season.

Either side have skilled ups-and-downs – will that be an element?

Hamilton: Each groups have suffered spells of upheaval throughout this time period. Emma Hayes illustrated this earlier than their remaining WSL match of the season by itemizing those that had been absent by way of harm or sickness. Whereas a turbulent spell in January noticed their Champions League marketing campaign finish abruptly within the group stage on head-to-head purpose distinction, they managed to maintain their hand in with the league and that endurance might be key on Sunday.

For Metropolis, their dodgy spell got here earlier than Christmas as they dropped 11 factors in six matches with the likes of Steph Houghton, Ellie Roebuck, Bronze and Chloe Kelly all absent. They, too, weathered that spell to complete the season with 13 straight wins and after a season the place squad depth was examined, anticipate each groups to go all-out on Sunday.

McNamee: I do not assume the turbulence for both facet will issue massively as Metropolis have recovered from their harm patch extremely nicely whereas Chelsea have proven they’ve the psychological energy to grind out wins regardless of happenings within the boardroom. Arguably, Chelsea have had a tougher time as of late however their depth on the bench ought to assist them.

O’Halloran: I am undecided it should. Hayes has spoken many occasions about rising into the season and peaking on the enterprise finish, whereas Metropolis’s early season woes got here amid a flurry of accidents. Either side are taking part in at a excessive degree and appear to have put any previous points behind them.

Lawson: With the tailspin Manchester Metropolis have been in firstly of the beginning of the season, which included conceding seven unanswered targets at residence to Chelsea over two fixtures within the house of a fortnight, the workforce might be decided to point out they’re nonetheless among the best sides in England and whereas Chelsea will need revenge for the Conti Cup remaining, Metropolis will really feel they’ve a rating to settle, too.

Let’s discuss MVPs: Which participant is vital for every workforce?

Hamilton: After her exceptional goal-scoring double on the weekend, all Chelsea eyes might be on famous person Sam Kerr. Her two strikes in opposition to Manchester United have been simply exceptional targets and strengthened why she is likely one of the world’s greatest gamers. However Ji modified that match for Chelsea on Sunday — her introduction at half-time allowed the Blues to push up larger, and her to dictate the tempo. She could not begin — however she’s indispensable as a part of the squad.

For Metropolis, Weir has loved one other excellent season, and scored twice of their Conti Cup win in March. She’s important to every thing they do and can must be on hearth in the event that they’re to see off Chelsea.

McNamee: Hemp has been completely essential to Man Metropolis’s success this season, notably after they have been going by way of a tough patch. For Chelsea, Ji modified the sport when she got here onto the pitch on the WSL’s remaining day and created house for them to flourish in opposition to Man United. Chelsea can even be hoping Kerr can repeat a few of her massive recreation magic.

O’Halloran: Weir arrives in massive matches repeatedly for Metropolis, and he or she might want to do the identical on Sunday. Her brace within the Conti Cup helped Gareth Taylor’s facet to victory, and he or she ought to have netted a gilt-edge likelihood in opposition to Chelsea a few weeks previous to equalise there. If she brings her taking pictures boots, Chelsea might want to look ahead to her as she pops up within the field.

Lawson: The cliché is that good defences win you titles however, for me not less than, cup finals are all concerning the attackers, particularly when you could have two of the very best within the nation within the match. So it is obtained to be Kerr, she’s a giant participant for a giant event and never solely is she in good goal-scoring type proper now however she naturally does a number of off the ball defensive work that would nicely be very important.

So, remaining predictions: Who wins and who scores?

Hamilton: I am going for a Chelsea win. I can see it being far nearer than the earlier FA Cup remaining the place Chelsea swiped Arsenal apart 4-0, and I can see Kerr grabbing a pair and one other from a set piece. Whereas Weir and Shaw will get on the scoresheet for Metropolis it will not be sufficient to cease a 3-2 victory for Hayes’ facet.

McNamee: I believe it is going to be shut between the edges, however I see Chelsea having the sting. Their wins as of late have not essentially been fairly, however Hayes and her squad know how one can step it up a gear when the going will get robust. I do not assume it is going to be a purpose fest, most likely across the 2-1 mark, with Kerr doubtless on the scoresheet and Hemp on the Man Metropolis facet.

O’Halloran: Chelsea might be slight favourites, however Metropolis have proven earlier than they’re as much as the duty. I am going to sit on the fence and say it is going to be shut. Chelsea win 2-1, and Kerr offers the star energy to bag the winner.

Lawson: There’s normally a number of targets on present when the 2 sides meet, so possibly the higher query is: who will not rating? Hemp, Ellen White, Kerr, Vibrant getting a cheeky one and doubtless somebody with a worldie … countless targets, full chaos. It may very well be 3-Zero or it may very well be a shoot-out and I can’t predict the way it will go, but when I’ve to, for example, Metropolis to win … narrowly.

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