Everton V Manchester City
This Sunday will see the Womens FA Cup Final from Wembley between Everton and Manchester City. A cup final in November is something new as last season FA Cup will come to its conclusion. The competition was at the Quarter Final stage when the FA ruled there would be no restart to the women’s game after lockdown. Finally, however, the FA Cup is to be concluded.
Road to Final
Everton came from behind to beat Chelsea 2-1 in the quarter finals. After Erin Cuthbert gave Chelsea an early lead goals from Lucy Graham and Valerie Gauvin sent them though. Another goal from Gauvin plus goals form Nicoline Sorensen and Simone Magill ensured a 3-0 semi final win over Carla Ward’s Birmingham City.
City, meanwhile, knocked out Championship side Leicester in the quarter final winning 2-1. A penalty from Chloe Kelly and a Georgia Stanway goal in the first half proving enough despite Charlie Devlin’s 78 minute penalty for Leicester. Steph Houghton gave City the lead in the semi final against Arsenal with a stunning free kick. That was cancelled out by a Jordan Nobbs strike. Sam Mewis restored the lead three minutes later and City comfortably saw out the game.
Everton are currently second in the WSL with six wins and one draw. Two big away wins have helped them, however, a four nil at Bristol City and six nil at Aston Villa.
These side have met this season in the Continental League Cup. Danielle Turner gave Everton the lead on 20 minutes, but City staged a second half come back. Rose Lavelle, Chloe Kelly, and Jessica Park securing a 3-1 victory.
After losing to Chelsea in the Community Shield, City won their opening WSL game. They were then held to a shock draw at home by Brighton but bounced back with a win against Spurs. In the last two WSL matches City lost 3-1 at Chelsea and were held to a 1-1 draw at Reading, leaving them 5th in the league.
Everton manager Willie Kirk spoke ahead of the game of wanting to win trophies and using the Cup Final to build success for the club:
“We are building a group of winners and Sunday can be a launchpad for success in the next five years. The players felt when this competition was resurrected it was written in the stars (they would reach the final).
“We did fantastically well against Chelsea and the belief grew and grew”.
“The Challenge for me is to make sure we are not happy just being at Wembley because we have reached our objectives. We want to go one better. There is no point going to Wembley unless you’re going to win”.
Kirk is under no illusions of the challenge his side face this weekend:
“We have to play at our absolute best levels to get success on Sunday.
“We are determined to get back to the days of Everton winning silverware and this is huge for us. It would be even bigger managing to topple one of the teams who are serial trophy winners but winning it regardless of who it is against, would be massive for this club”.
City boss Gareth Taylor also described the prospect of winning the FA Cup as
“One of the biggest things I’ve done.
“It would mean a lot to win the trophy”.
The City manager has said everyone has their part to play if they are to win:
“Everyone wants to be involved on Sunday and everyone will be involved – whether they start the game, are on the bench or even in the stand.
“Everyone has a role to play, its about supporting the team, making sure the team comes first and then going there and competing to bring home a trophy.
“We have a squad of really good players, who want to be part of it, making a difference out there and that’s great for me as a manager.
“We have some good selection choices to make in lots of positions and that’s what you want”.
He also talked about his side being labelled as the favourites for this game:
“I can understand why we’re favorites – when it comes to Cup Finals, there’s often a favorite and an underdog – but its a one-off game and we’ve worked hard to get there”.
Everton midfielder Lucy Graham is enjoying a fine start to the season with four goals in five games. Also chipping in with two assists. She will need to be sharpe defensively against the many options Man City have in the middle of the park. The Scotland international has the chance to be the first Everton player to lift the FA Cup since 2010.
Striker Chloe Kelly has manged four goals in her last five games for City. Kelly was an Everton player last season and even featured for them in the earlier rounds. (Players would not normally be able to play for two sides in the FA Cup, but as the competition is being finished this season it is allowed). Speaking to BBC Sport ahead of the game Chloe said:
“I’m absolutely buzzing and can’t wait to get going”.
How To Watch
The match will be played at Wembley but will be behind closed doors. Its a shame as last years final saw a crowd of 43,264 watch Man City beat West Ham 3-0. With the popularity of the Women’s game growing another big crowd would be expected.
The game is being shown live by both BBC One and on BT Sport. Kick off is at 14:00 Sunday 1st November.
Prediction; Everton 1 v 2 Manchester City
Both teams want to win this trophy and will give it everything. Everton have been in great form and it won’t be easy for City. Given their last few results City will want to win and hopefully kick start them moving up the WSL.