Match Preview

FA Cup Semi-Final: Arsenal v Brighton and Hove Albion

90 minutes separate Arsenal or Brighton and Hove Albion from the FA Cup Final, but who will be heading to Wembley?

Girls on the Ball


30 October 2021

The knock-on effects of Coronavirus lockdowns mean that there is still no FA Cup holder for the 2020/21 season. The good news is that we are inching closer as both semi-final matches take place on Sunday 31st October. Arsenal will play host to Brighton and Hove Albion and the winner shall go on to either face Manchester City or Chelsea in the final at Wembley Stadium on 5th December. 

This will be the first time the two teams have me this season with their last meeting taking place back in April, when Arsenal clinched the win with two goals from Jordan Nobbs. Prior to that the Gunners claimed five goals against the Seagulls when Brighton hosted last October. Goal scorers that day were Vivianne Miedema, Daniëlle van de Donk, Jen Beattie and Lotte Wubben-Moy.

Home Team

Arsenal look to continue their fine form across all competitions, having only lost one game since Jonas Eidevall took the reins in June. The Gunners come into this game with several players having been involved with national duty in last week’s international break. Eidevall has already explained that forward Vivianne Miedema will not feature as she is being rested citing her relentless schedule for both club and country. 

At the quarter final stage Arsenal demonstrated a convincing 5-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur and have since kept three clean sheets and won three out of their four recent matches. Brighton will need to keep their wits about them as this Arsenal side look to punish. The fluidity and high-tempo movement that has been breathed in by Eidevall has the Gunners looking unitedly dangerous.

The Oppositon

Hope Powell’s Brighton currently lay in 5th position in the Women’s Super League and have won three out of their last five matches. The Seagulls come into this match having won their rather surprisingly testing match against Charlton Athletic by one goal. Powell’s side have proven themselves worthy contenders thus far. 

Whilst they may not be enjoying the same attacking ascendency as Arsenal, they continue to build brick by brick to a team to be wary of. Defensively, the Seagulls remain well organised and they have kept three clean sheets this season. Centre back Victoria Williams has a wise head on her shoulders and will be ever mindful of Arsenal’s impending attacking play. It is likely that Brighton may not enjoy as much of the ball as they would hope for, however, the Seagulls boast a fair conversion rate and, more often than not, make their chances count. Arsenal’s goalkeeper, Manuela Zinsberger or Lydia Williams, will need to remain watchful of the spaces opening up as the Gunners press high, Brighton’s forward line do not rest on their laurels.

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Girls on the Ball

Ones to Watch....

One could argue that Arsenal’s Beth Mead is in the form of her life right now and competing for a place in the FA Cup final, expect her to fair no differently. As Miedema has already been ruled out, the winger may be even more influential as she looks to add to her outrageous assist and gaol tally. Mead will likely remain on the right wing with Caitlin Foord filling the central forward role, however Mead likes to cut in and drive toward goal when space is available so do not be surprised to see her name on the scoresheet. 

On the other side, Brighton’s Danielle Carter will be looking to pot one against her former club. The centre forward has quick feet and quick thinking and relationships between the ever-significant Inessa Kaagman, Kayleigh Green and Carter is beginning to link up nicely. One would also keep an eye on Brighton’s Fliss Gibbons. The defender has found herself playing on the left in a fullback role and has provided adequate attacking drive whilst retaining defensive cover. Gibbons will likely find herself trying to contain the fizzing bottle that is Beth Mead and will certainly have her work cut out, but, one can bet she’s up for the challenge.

How to Watch

The match kicks off at 4:45pm (BST) and will be shown live on BBC2 with coverage from 4:30. Please check local listings if you are viewing from outside the UK.