Arsenal comfortably dispatched a valiant Charlton side 5-0 to book a semi-final place away to Everton and with league results also going our way, the Champions League is once again in view.
League results also went the Gunners’ way with Chelsea drawing at home to Reading.
For this postponed FA Cup quarter-final, Joe Montemurro rested five players from the side that won the Conti Cup final.
He gave a game to every player available because the cupboard is bare with no-one else available due to injuries and international call-ups.
The usual 4-3-3 system was used with Anna Moorhouse; Alex Scott, Leah Williamson, Louise Quinn, Katie McCabe; Danielle Van De Donk, Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little; Heather O’ Reilly, Danielle Carter, Beth Mead.
Arsenal opened the scoring very early from a Kim Little penalty. Beth Mead was kicked on the edge of the penalty area quite clearly and Kim duly converted the spot kick.
Charlton defended well, parking in the central area of the pitch and leaving the wings to the Arsenal. They reached half-time with a 1-0 scoreline thanks to some excellent goalkeeping by the on-loan Chelsea youngster, Katie Startup.
Charlton started to tire in the second half and Arsenal added four more goals.
First HAO fought well in the penalty area to keep control of the ball and managed to send a missile in to double the lead.
She then sent in a bullet cross from the right-wing that was superbly headed home by Anna Miedema who had just come onto the pitch to make it 3-0.
With the game won, the tempo dropped for the last half hour with Arsenal keeping the Charlton defence under siege but with lesser impetus.
Danielle Carter headed in a Lisa Evans Cross for the fourth goal and Jordan Nobbs scored an excellent long range shot for the fifth with the last kick of the game.
We are now into a seven-game winning streak with eight clean sheets in a row. These are excellent statistics and shows how quickly Joe Montemurro has turned things round.
It was good to welcome back two former Gunners at Borehamwood in Charlotte Gurr and Chloe Brunton-Wilde, who both had a busy day defending their goal.
While Arsenal went past Charlton with ease, Manchester City needed extra time to beat Sunderland 4-2.
This is the second time for City this season that they’ve needed an extra half hour to seal a win. Combined with their League defeat to Birmingham and Conti Cup final setback against Arsenal, they don’t seem to be as dominant as in the previous three years.
Everton hammered Durham away to set up a live, on-the-BBC semi-final scheduled for the 15th April at a ground to be confirmed.
There were also two League games played on the day. Birmingham hammered Liverpool 4-0, while Reading confirmed their nuisance power with a 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
Reading have drawn twice against the Blues and once against us in the League.
This is a huge morale boosting result for the Gunners.
They trail the leaders by eight points with two games in hand and a 15 goal deficit but they trail second-placed City by six points with a game in hand and a 12 goal deficit.
The head-to-head home games against Chelsea (01/04) and City (13/05) will be crucial and must-win to have chance of getting back into the Champions League.
Considering Pedro Losa was sacked because we were so far behind the top two and regressing, it is incredible to be in a situation where two wins against our direct opponents and wins in our games in hand would take us close to the best club competition in the world once again.
Next Sunday’s game at home to Chelsea will be decisive and the Gunners will need maximum support from the fans.