Manchester City Women 2-1 Arsenal: Blues progress to the FA Cup final
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Current Vitality Women's FA Cup holders Manchester City have booked their place in the 2019/20 Wembley final and will face Everton on the 1st November.

Sam Mewis stole the show as the hosts edged out Arsenal in a tight encounter at a bitterly cold Academy Stadium on Thursday night while fellow USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle made her blues debut.

The match

From the onset, Gareth Taylor's side showed that they were eager to improve from their 0-0 draw against Brighton in their last home game, with Sam Mewis and Chloe Kelly contributing to a number of early chances.

The aforementioned USWNT international was one of a number of big-name additions from the US, but the possible impact that could bring to this City side may have flown under the radar in comparison to others.

Standing at 6ft tall, Mewis only compliments the height of Caroline Weir in midfield; or Jill Scott when she features. Arsenal struggled comparatively in the centre - Daniëlle van de Donk, who was already playing a different role to normal as a more defensive midfielder, was left to mark Mewis and often found it difficult to compete with her stature.

After interplay from Demi Stokes and Georgia Stanway on the left, Caroline Weir found herself with the ball on the edge of the box. Leah Williamson lunged in and brought down the Scotland midfielder, gifting the hosts a golden opportunity early on. Captain Steph Houghton stepped up to take and fired a curling effort past Manuela Zinsberger to open the scoring.

With Phil Neville, Bev Priestman and Dawn Scott watching on from the stands, Gemma Bonner once again showed that she should be in contention for a spot in an England squad. From the few opportunities that Arsenal had, the 29-year-old proved a solid member of the City backline.

It took an individual moment of brilliance for the Gunners to level the scoring, with Jordan Nobbs providing the goods. From 25 yards out she swung across the ball first time, playing a shot with the outside of her foot that flew into the back of Ellie Roebuck's net.

Only three minutes later and the hosts found themselves back in front however, and it was Mewis once again who showed her class. Lingering on the edge of the box, the Arsenal midfield failed to mark the American and when Ellen White knocked the ball down, Mewis pounced.

Second half

After Kim Little pulled up and seemed to be holding her calf, Lia Wälti entered the pitch. The change immediately allowed Arsenal to adopt a different style, playing a 4-3-3 with Van de Donk and Nobbs the more advanced players in midfield.

Rose Lavelle was brought on in the 65th minute and made her first appearance in a sky blue shirt. She did not have much of an effect on the game but may be one to watch out for on Sunday after she has now got her first minutes under her belt.

Throughout the game, there was one word which summarised Arsenal's performance - lacklustre. They consistently failed to produce any real goalscoring chances leaving Vivianne Miedema without the deliveries she needs to excel.

Youngster Jess Park came on with ten minutes to play and the 18-year-old, who signed her first professional contract over lockdown, showed that she is a promising prospect for this season. She pressed the Arsenal defence well and contributed to a handful of late opportunities


City much improved

After relatively weak performances against Aston Villa and Brighton in their opening two Women's Super League games, Gareth Taylor's side looked far better in Thursday night's game.

The side seem to have clicked since then and triangles between the likes of Georgia Stanway, Caroline Weir and Demi stokes were a regular occurrence.

Chloe Kelly once again demonstrated how important of a signing she is for Manchester City and provided a number of opportunities going forwards.

Will a lack of squad depth once again haunt Arsenal?

A lack of depth has been an all-too-common problem for Joe Montemurro's side, and injuries this season have already began to highlight the cracks in the team.

When the hosts adopted a pressing game, there was a real lack of a defensive player in Arsenal's midfield. Daniëlle van de Donk was forced to play out of position and deeper in the middle, alienating her best abilities.

Vivianne Miedema was not handed the opportunities to show her class as a forward, something which the crossing ability of Steph Catley could definitely have helped.

Player of the match

Manchester City - Sam Mewis

Throughout the game, Sam Mewis shone through as a player who would be crucial for Manchester City this season.

Not only does she contribute her stature in the middle of the park, her passing ability consistently created chances throughout the game, and her nause to pick out space earned her the opportunity to score what proved to be the winning goal.