Arsenal face a potential banana skin on Sunday against Charlton Athletic Women at Borehamwood FC in the FA Cup quarter final.
For the most nostalgic fans, this will be a nice game like the old days.
Charlton used to compete against us in the 2000’s before their money was cut by the men’s team when they were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 06/07 season.
They now play in the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division, the third tier of the women’s football pyramid, and have recently made a bid to play next season the FA Women’s Championship, the second tier.
Charlton have long-serving players like Kim Dixson who has been there for 18 years. Charley Clifford and Grace Coombs both more than 100 appearance for the Addicks. They also possess an exceptional goalscorer in Kit Graham, who is close to scoring 150 senior goals despite only being 22.
Charlton can also count on two former Arsenal players: playmaker Charlotte Gurr, who actually was a team-mate of Alex Scott back in 2006/07 when Arsenal Ladies won the sextuple and played in the UEFA, League, County and FA Cup games that season; and midfielder-turned-defender, Chloe Brunton-Wilde, who won doubles with Arsenal’s u17 and development teams.
Speaking ahead of the game, Dixson said, “They are two leagues above us and are a very good side, there’s no denying that,” she said. “But we don’t really fear them. We just know we have to work really hard on the day.
“They will have played before we play them so we hope they might have a few tired legs.”
“Yes we will need a bit of luck on the day but we have to work at nullifying their strengths. And we have strengths too.
“The FA Cup has been a good distraction for us but the main focus is the league and we want to play in the Championship [being renamed from Super League 2] next season.”
Next, Team form and starting XI prediction
1Team form and starting XI prediction
The Gunners will be full of confidence following their Conti Cup final win and you would expect to see squad rotation against a third tier side, especially as many players looked tired in the second half on Wednesday.
Charlton are top of the FA WPL Southern Division and also on a good run.
We should expect all the subs fromthe bench in the final to start against Charlton with the exception of 16-year-old Ava Kuyken, who could, in fairness also get a game.
I cannot see the manager taking that gamble, however.
Anna Moorhouse in goal, Alex Scott and Katie McCabe in defence, Lauren James in midfield, Heather O’Reilly and Danielle Carter up front should be the core of the starting lineup.
The staring XI should be really close to this:
Anna Moorhouse; Alex Scott, Leah Williamson, Louise Quinn, Katie McCabe; Dominique Janssen, Danielle Van De Donk, Jordan Nobbs or Kim Little; Heather O’ Reilly, Bethany Mead, Danielle Carter
The five substitutes should come from Sari Van Veenendaal, Lisa Evans, Emma Mitchell, Ava Kuyken, Jordan Nobbs or Kim Little, Anna Miedema
The other quarter-final ties are Sunderland v Manchester City, Liverpool v Chelsea, Durham v Everton.
Durham are the sole FA WSL 2 team still in the Cup, Charlton are the sole FA WPL team.
It will be interesting to see how City react as they are on a slippery slope at the moment. Their last win over 90 minutes was back on 11 February. Liverpool should give Chelsea a close game while Everton are clear favourites away to Durham.
The FA Women’s Cup final will be played at Wembley Stadium on 5 May, kick off at 5.30 pm due to the usual Saturday TV restrictions.
- Kids go free
- Adults £15
- Concessions £5
- Half price tickets for groups of 10 or more
Next, from Joe Montemurro