Chelsea will be looking to complete the Double when they face Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup Final on Sunday at 2:30pm (UK time).
Last weekend, the Blues wrapped up their third consecutive Women’s Super League title with a 4-2 win over Manchester United, finishing one point clear of Arsenal with the race going to a thrilling final day.
Now they will seek to add the FA Cup to that trophy haul, just six months after winning the 2020/21 competition in a delayed final in December. But they face a Man City side that will be looking to win a fourth FA Cup in six seasons. In fact, including this season, the past six FA Cups will have gone to either Man City or Chelsea.
And Man City have every right to be confident having already won the Continental Cup this season, beating Chelsea 3-1 in the final in March.
So, who comes out on top?
1. Sam Kerr to strike again
There may not be a more devastating striker in England than Sam Kerr. The Australian recently scooped up the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year award for her role in helping Chelsea retain the league, but she’s been excellent across all competitions.
Playing 33 games across all competitions, Kerr has scored 30 goals for Chelsea, 14 more than her closest teammate (Pernille Harder’s 16). Two of those came in this season’s FA Cup, netting a brace to help Chelsea thrashed Leicester 7-0 in the fifth round. She also picked up two assists in that game and inadvertently added another in the semi-final, ricocheting a clearance into Ji So-yun’s path for Chelsea’s second in their 2-0 win over Arsenal.
Sam Kerr in the 2021/22 WSL:
9 right foot
4 left foot
Another golden boot for the Chelsea forward. ⭐️
— Squawka (@Squawka) May 10, 2022
But it’s what Kerr advertently does that makes her really dangerous. Her two goals against Man Utd last week summed up just how good she is and how important she is for Chelsea. When they were trailing, Kerr hit a volley from the edge of the area with her weak foot to equalise and then made their lead comfortable with what has to be a Puskas nominee. She’s been the player for the big occasion for Chelsea, and has scored in her past three domestic cup finals for the club.
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2. Lauren Hemp & Chloe Kelly to cause problems
One of the reasons behind Man City’s recent blistering form, particularly in front of goal, has been the return to action of Chloe Kelly. The English winger missed most of the season after picking up an ACL injury in the closing stages of the 2020/21 campaign and was a big miss, as she had built a good partnership with fellow winger Lauren Hemp.
Man City had been growing up Taylor before Kelly’s return, but she has looked like the missing piece in the Citizens puzzle. Forming a front three alongside Hemp and Bunny Shaw, Kelly has scored one goal and provided three assists in five WSL matches but also added another goal in the FA Cup semi-final against West Ham.
You voted @lauren__hemp as your 21/22 Player of the Season ?
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 11, 2022
With Kelly and Shaw finding form (the Jamaican scored six goals in her final five minutes of the WSL campaign), Hemp has partners worthy of her brilliance and her chances created are finally being converted. The Englishwoman, who will shoulder a lot of the Lionesses’ hopes at Euro 2022 this summer, ended the WSL season with three assists in her final four games and will be hoping to add another crucial one at Wembley.
3. A key midfield battle
Although the attackers will dominate the headlines whatever the result, the cup final will be won in the midfield. Man City have an excellent trio of Caroline Weir, Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway that is capable of controlling a game, shielding the defence and getting forward in devastating fashion. A perfect trident.
But on the other side of the match, Chelsea are struggling to find a midfield that works. Were everyone available, Melanie Leupolz and Sophie Ingle would probably be Emma Hayes’ go-to duo but the former announced her pregnancy in March, naturally being unavailable.
Since the happy news, Hayes has tried a few different options in midfield, with Jessie Fleming, Ji, Erin Cuthbert and Guro Reiten all tried alongside Ingle. Some of them have worked to an extent, while others have seen Chelsea suffer. Hayes needs to find the right solution on Sunday, and it’s likely to be Cuthbert joining Ingle, with the Scot in fantastic form at the end of the campaign.
4. A day for the goalkeepers
As well as all the fantastic outfielders on show at Wembley on Sunday, Chelsea and Man City boast two of the best goalkeepers in the world right now. Ann-Katrin Berger, although her performances have dropped from last season, is still a world-class shot-stopper and kept nine clean sheets in her 14 WSL appearances in 2021/22, including two against Man City.
— Vitality Women's FA Cup (@VitalityWFACup) May 13, 2022
Roebuck, meanwhile, was a big miss for Man City in the first meeting with Chelsea this season, which the Blues’ won 4-0 – the England shot-stopper had been out injured for a big part of the campaign. But her return came at just the right time, strengthening Man City at the back. In 10 WSL matches since she returned at the start of February, Roebuck kept eight clean sheets, only conceding in a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on her return and as part of a bonkers 7-2 win over Brighton.
Neither may keep clean sheets, but they’ll be crucial.
5. Man City to take the cup
Whatever happens, this will be a fascinating game between two of England’s best teams. But Man City may have more reason to be positive than Chelsea.
Although Chelsea will have been boosted by the WSL title win, they haven’t fared too well after their last two trophy celebrations. After winning the 2020/21 FA Cup final in December, Chelsea drew 0-0 with Juventus at Kingsmeadow in a game they were expected to win, a result that contributed to them going out at the group stages of the Champions League – with the Italians going through instead.
And, of course, after winning the WSL last season, Chelsea were humbled 4-0 by Barcelona in the Champions League final.
Then there’s Man City’s form. Taylor has his side on a 13-match winning streak across all competitions, a run which includes beating Chelsea in the Continental Cup final.
Manchester City have won the WSL Cup four times since its inception in 2011.
They are just one behind record winners Arsenal (5). pic.twitter.com/lsXYzitkX4
— Squawka (@Squawka) March 5, 2022