2022 FA Cup Guide
Saturday, 14 May 2022
Chelsea and Manchester City will battle it out at Wembley to become FA Cup title holders
Girls on the Ball
The 52nd Women’s FA Cup final takes place on Sunday (kick off 2:30pm BST) at Wembley Stadium between holders Chelsea and Manchester City. Emma Hayes’ Chelsea come into the final fresh off winning the WSL for a third time in a row, whilst Gareth Taylor’s side, who should also be full of confidence, finished third in the league and have only lost once in all competitions since mid-November.
Both will be looking to win the cup for a fourth time with Chelsea having won it in 2015, 2018 and 2021 and City having won it in 2017,2019 and 2020. Between them, they have won the last five FA Cups and six of the last seven. Man City have also yet to lose in the final. After never having played each other in a major final, this will be the second time in just over two months that the two sides will meet, having played each other in the Conti Cup final in March. The match has to be decided on the day so there is the chance of extra-time and penalties.
Road to Wembley
Both sides entered the cup at the fourth round stage. Chelsea were drawn away to Aston Villa where they won 3-1 with Guro Reiten scoring twice and Pernille Harder getting the other. In the fifth round they played Leicester City at home and won 7-0. Leicester were reduced to ten players fairly early after which Chelsea took control with Harder and Sam Kerr both scoring twice and Ji So-yun, Aniek Nouwen and Bethany England scoring the others.
Chelsea were drawn at home again in the quarter-finals, this time against Birmingham City. It finished with another comfortable win for the home side, this time 5-0, with Magdalena Eriksson, Drew Spence, England twice and Niamh Charles getting the goals. In the semi-finals, Chelsea were drawn away to Arsenal in a repeat of last season’s final. In front of 3,458 supporters at Meadow Park, Chelsea won 2-0 with Reiten and Ji scoring.
Manchester City started off their FA Cup campaign away at tier three Nottingham Forest. Caroline Weir opened the scoring in the 2nd minute and a brace from Bunny Shaw, one from Filippa Angeldal, a second half hat-trick from Georgia Stanway (becoming the clubs record women’s goalscorer along the way), and a Lauren Hemp goal meant they won 8-0.
City were drawn away to city rivals Manchester United in the fifth round. After going behind in the first half, four goals after the break from Hemp, Ellen White, Weir and Shaw gave them a 4-1 win. City beat Everton 4-0 at home in the quarter-finals with Hemp scoring twice and further goals from Weir and White completing the win. They were draw away to West Ham in the semi-finals and goals from White, Chloe Kelly (her first since returning from injury) and two during the second half from Hemp gave them a 4-1 win.
Girls on the Ball
Both sides are on amazing runs of form at the moment with Chelsea having won all their 11 matches in all competitions since losing the Conti Cup final whilst Manchester City have won 13 in a row in all competitions since losing away to Chelsea in the WSL in early February. City won the Conti Cup final 3-1 when after going behind to a Sam Kerr goal in the first half, they scored three in the second with Caroline Weir getting two and Ellen White the other.
The league meetings between the two this season both finished with Chelsea wins, 4-0 at the Academy Stadium in November and 1-0 at Kingsmeadow. They also met in last season’s FA Cup semi-final in October which Chelsea won 3-0.
How they might line up
Manchester City normally play in a 4-3-3 formation. In recent games, Ellie Roebuck has started in goal and in front of her, Lucy Bronze has been at right back, Alex Greenwood and Alanna Kennedy in the centre and Demi Stokes at left back, though Julie Blakstad has also started in this position in a few games. Keira Walsh tends to play in a deeper midfield role with Caroline Weir and Georgia Stanway in front of her.
The front three could be Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp as the wide players with Bunny Shaw in the middle, but there is a chance Ellen White could start in this role (she has been used as a second half substitute in the last few games). Amongst other City players who could be involved or on the bench include goalkeepers Khiara Keating and Karima Benameur Taieb.
In defence there is Ruby Mace, whilst in midfield there is Laura Coombs, Filippa Angeldal and Vicky Losada. Hayley Raso could be used as one of the front three and Jess Park is back in contention after being out since the start of April.
Chelsea throughout the season have played in a number of different formations, sometimes even swapping between them during games! In goal will be either Ann-Katrin Berger or Zecira Musovic. Magdalena Eriksson, Millie Bright and Jess Carter are likely starters in defence whatever formation is played. They could be joined by the likes of Jonna Andersson (last game before moving to Hammarby IF in the summer) and Niamh Charles (could play as wing-back). Other defenders who could be involved include Aniek Nouwen, Maren Mjelde and Alsu Abdullina.
In midfield, Sophie Ingle, Erin Cuthbert, Guro Reiten (could also play as wing-back), Ji So-yun (her final game for the club) and Jessie Fleming could be amongst the starting line-up. Drew Spence (another leaving in the summer) is likely to be amongst the substitutes. In attack, there is Sam Kerr, Bethany England and Pernille Harder with Lauren James on the bench. Emma Hayes confirmed that Fran Kirby is back in training and in contention to be involved after missing the last couple of months.
Girls on the Ball
What the managers said
In his press conference, Gareth Taylor spoke about form and how cup finals can be different from other games (taken from Manchester City’s website).
“It does [inspire confidence] and we go into it in form but Chelsea do too and finished the season off well. Sometimes it can have a relevance to the game in terms of the rhythm and tempo, but it’s a one-off game and it’s about who manages it well enough on the day and who plays the game – not the occasion.
"We’ve been there before in cup finals so have Chelsea… so there’s no real edge for either team. It’s just who goes out and performs best on the day. [The Conti Cup Final] was a couple of months ago and a game where the girls were amazing. It put us into a confident place which we followed up with wins through to the end of the season. Full credit to the players.
"We want to win another trophy. It’s one we’ve been successful in previously. Whatever happens on Sunday, we’re proud of the season and we’re moving in the right direction.”
He added that Chelsea always have the potential to surprise teams and that there is a rivalry between the two sides but also a healthy respect. He also spoke about how special the FA Cup is and that it has never lost its magic.
Emma Hayes in her press conference spoke about what pressure Chelsea might be under as they go looking for the WSL and FA Cup double (all quotes taken from Chelsea’s website).
“I don’t think there’s any more or less pressure this week than there was a week ago, what I know is that there is a team that this second half of the season have been absolutely outstanding. The women’s game wins again on Sunday, hopefully with a record crowd and two amazing teams full of talent.”
Hayes spoke about the challenges City might pose,
“We’ve had to play with pressure of having to win every game to win the title so it’s been different pressures for different teams. I’m not saying you’re any more relaxed in that position but it’s a lot harder if you lose the title. I’ve seen a team grow and grow and grow under Gareth Taylor this year and a team where they’ve come together in a difficult moment and recovered in a really tough moment.”
And there is one City player the Chelsea manager is particularly impressed by.
“They’ve got outstanding talent, particularly in Lauren Hemp - what a player, I love watching her play I really do, I’m excited for England in the summer. I hope she’s amazing in the summer and terrible on Sunday.”
Girls on the Ball
The referee for the final is Kirsty Dowle and the two assistant referees will be Emily Carney and Magda Golba. The fourth official is Lisa Benn and the reserve assistant referee is Georgia Ball.
The final is live on BBC One and the BBC iPlayer in the UK with coverage starting at 1:50pm (BST). There is also radio coverage in the UK on BBC 5Live and talkSPORT. Tickets Over 55,000 tickets have been sold so far for the final so the current record attendance of 45,423 could well be beaten.