It is Matchday three out of five in the FA WSL Continental Cup and this weekend will see seven ties between FA WSL and FA Women’s Championship sides.
Could we see more underdogs victorious like in the previous two rounds?
Group one North
In this group, the three FA WSL sides are ahead of the three championship sides in the table. Manchester City are favorites to qualify.
There will be a Championship duel between Leicester and Aston Villa. It will be interesting to see how the Villains react after ending on the wrong side of a 12-0 defeat to Manchester United in the League opener last week.
Sheffield United will take on Birmingham City. Clearly a potential banana skin tie for the Blues, who cannot really afford to drop points if they want to finish in the top two places.
The final tie in that group will see a battle between two FA WSL teams with Bristol at home to Manchester City. The Citizens have just flown back from their midweek Champions League draw against Athletico. They have much more experience and depth in the squad and should prevail. Bristol have a young team full of energy who could possibly get a draw out of this game if things go their way.
Group two North
Reading are the only team with a 100% record and they are away to fellow FA WSL team Everton and will be looking to consolidate their first place. Should they win, they would be very close to qualifying.
The other group game could see a big upset as Championship side, Durham, are at home to manager-less Liverpool, who have two defeats in two games and have scored none so far while conceding six already, five of which were scored by Arsenal.
Durham are a solid, powerful and aggressive side, currently level on points with Manchester United in the Championship. Liverpool will have to be at their best to get points from that trip. You do wonder if they will depart from the style and tactics used in the first two games that saw them start seven defenders and a poor lone striker isolated with a few other players out of position as well.
It is all to play for in the second qualifying place, should Reading beat Everton, as the other four teams seem to be very close in quality and performances. Should Everton beat Reading, this group might end up with three teams level on points, only separated by goal difference.
Group one South
A very interesting group with Chelsea on top as expected but the other two FA WSL teams are in the bottom two spots, which means a Championship side is likely to qualify for the quarterfinals.
Chelsea are back from their travels to Sarajevo in the Champions League and are expected to rotate their squad again as they are away to Crystal Palace.
Brighton are at home to London Bees and should prevail against an ambitious Bees team that could take the game to a penalty shoot-out.
Yeovil are at home to Spurs looking for their first win in the 2018/19 season and it might be the right time for Lee Burch and his squad. Spurs are another ambitious Championship team and will give them a hard game, for sure.
Group two South
Arsenal are playing in Group two south and are away to Lewes in a top of the table clash, with Lewes currently in first place on goal difference.
That group is very open as there are four teams at the top the table with three points and only Millwall with nil points. The Lionesses are away to West Ham and the Championship team are in full rebuild mode under Chris Phillips and Pedro Martinez Losa. They will struggle against Matt Beard’s new team that has been rebuilt nearly from scratch with excellent signings.
Expect Arsenal and West Ham to top the group on Sunday night and reach the quarter-finals as they will both finish their program against Championship teams.