Both holders Chelsea and first-time finalists Man Utd are aiming to secure the first leg of the home double when they face off in the Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
The Blues have won the competition four times in the past six years and will be eyeing another at a sold-out Wembley.
Manchester United, however, are on the verge of a first major trophy after winning promotion to the WSL following the reform of the club in 2018.
The teams occupy the top two spots in the Women’s Super League, so Sunday’s winner will get a double chance.
So, who will emerge victorious this weekend? sky game Investigation of Maryam Naz…
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Tough road for both teams
Although Manchester United may have a more favorable route to this weekend’s final, they have at times made things unnecessarily difficult for themselves.
This was never more apparent than when Marie Earps fired the ball into her own net on 26 minutes in the semi-final clash with Brighton.
Leah Galton and Alessia Russo saved their blushes with two goals each to swing the tide on the hour mark, but once again, Man Utd had more dilemmas to solve when they headed in a 75th-minute penalty for Danielle Carter. allowed to equalize.
It took an 89th-minute goal from Rachel Williams to secure a first trip home to Wembley.
Chelsea may not have been as error-prone in their ventures, but against Aston Villa they were short-staffed and had to tread a tighter line afterwards.
Sam Kerr predictably swooped in as the savior in the 53rd minute, and the Blues denied Rachel Daly and her teammates a place in the final.
Can Man Utd’s attack overtake Chelsea?
man utd had Scored the most goals in the WSL this season until Chelsea scored 13 without reply in two league games against Everton and Leicester.
The Blues are now level on goal difference with Skinner’s team, but they will be wary of their opponents’ powerful variations.
Against Tottenham, it was on full display. Nikita Parise and Galton tore apart the opposition’s defense with ease, but they were not the only ones to contribute in attack.
This season, Man Utd have shared the goals – at least five players in the team have scored five goals.
The selfless nature of the front four players has given them an added dimension, and the smaller players have contributed when rotated.
Against Spurs, Skinner demonstrated this by bringing on Millie Turner for Aoife Mannion, while the suspended Katie Zelem was swapped for Vilde Bo Risa.
Risa reveled in his role, picking up passes to Rousseau, while Turner linked up with wingers to contribute in attack.
It is likely that we will see him in a 4-2-3-1 setup alongside Hayley Ladd in defensive midfield.
Experienced Oona Battle is likely to return in defense alongside Maya Le Tissier, Turner and former Chelsea defender Hannah Blundell. Meanwhile, Parris, Toon and Galton will attack behind Russo.
How will the Blues deal with fatigue after key players have just been injured?
Chelsea fans rejoiced at the return of Pernille Harder and Kadisha Buchanan after the squad had been short-staffed in recent months. But it is worth remembering that he has just returned to action.
The pair had been absent for the bulk of the season with knee and hamstring injuries. An FA Cup final is a keen field to continue their reintegration, but neither has shown any sign of struggling with Hayes’ demanding tactics: Buchanan came on as a late replacement against Leicester and made an immediate impact , while Harder racked up consecutive braces as many games.
If workload remains a concern for both, they are not the only Chelsea players for whom this is the case: Hayes’ team have played 14 times in four competitions since March 5, and there has been limited rotation.
And Chelsea will be keen to avoid the injury woes suffered by rivals Arsenal, Whose core four players have recovered from anterior cruciate ligament injury,
So, will Hayes choose to select his best players, or will he err on the side of caution and continue to give them fewer minutes?
Choose the former, and we’ll see Harder in the No. 10 role, while Lauren James will return to her favorite position on either side. Even with Guro Retain in frame, there is potential for sharp counter-attacks.
The rest would slot into a familiar 4-2-3-1, with Kerr leading the line.
There has been some concern over the Australian international’s fitness as she has been battling a non-covid illness this week, but Hayes has insisted “she will be fine”.
If Chelsea are to dominate Wembley again, they will want to see Kerr as healthy as possible.