Chelsea Ladies - Manchester City Women Preview: Will Emma Hayes' Chelsea knock out the in-form Citizens?

With the top two women's footballing sides in the country going head to head, who will book their place at the home of English football?

Chelsea Ladies - Manchester City Women Preview: Will Emma Hayes' Chelsea knock out the in-form Citizens?
Chelsea vs Manchester City. | Photo :

Manchester City Women travel to Staines to take on Chelsea Ladies in their FA Women's Cup semi-final on Sunday. The winner will go up against the winner of the Arsenal vs Sunderland game on Saturday, in the final at Wembley. 

Blues on the rise

City have beaten both Liverpool and Sporting Club Albion 2-0 in the cup, while Chelsea brushed aside Doncaster Belles and Aston Villa Ladies with 4-1 and 6-0 scorelines. This could be one of the most important matches in Manchester City's history, as the 2015 FA WSL runners-up could play at Wembley for the first time. Chelsea played in the final last year, beating Notts County 1-0 in front of 40,000 fans.

In the past five years, Chelsea have recorded two fifth round finishes in 2011 and 2013. They lost in the final to Birmingham City at Ashton Gate in 2012, reached the semifinals in 2014, where they got beat by Arsenal in extra time, before winning it last year. 

Manchester City however, have gotten closer and closer. They reached the second round in 2011, recorded two fifth round finishes in 2012 and 2013, were knocked out in the sixth round in 2014, and played in the semfinals in 2015.

Good Start

Both clubs have won every league game they've played this season. Chelsea thrashed Doncaster 4-1, with new signings Karen Carney and Bethany England getting on the scoresheet. An injury time free kick from captain Stephanie Haughton won the opening game for City, while goals from Jane Ross and Toni Duggan sealed a 2-0 home win against Arsenal.

One to watch out for: Jane Ross

Ross has been in great form as of late, scoring two goals, one in the league against Arsenal and the other - Sporting Club Albion in the FA Women's Cup. She also scored two in Scotland's Euro 2017 qualifier. She has been in unbelievable form for both her clubs in the past, scoring a stunning 104 goals in 118 games for hometown club Glasgow City. She scored 51 goals in 82 appearances for Swedish club Vittsjö GIK. The 26-year-old has been capped 78 times for Scotland, finding the back of the net on 35 occasions.

Chelsea will definitely have to keep an eye out for her, as the experienced striker is known for her poaching instincts and will most certainly be on top form, considering what the game means to her club.

Busy transfer window

Manchester City have done well to strengthen their attacking options in the transfer window, making Nikita Parris' transfer from Everton Ladies permanent, while signing Scotland's Jane Ross and Kosovare Asllani from PSG. Marie Hourihan was signed from Chelsea as a backup, while Megan Campbell also put pen on paper for the Lancashire club.

2015 League and Cup winners Chelsea have been quite active in the market too, signing England international Karen Carney from Birmingham City. Becky Spencer also joined as a replacement for the departed Hourihan. Midfielders Bethany England and Jade Bailey joined from Doncaster Belles and Arsenal respectively.