Aston Villa vs Chelsea: Women’s FA Cup preview
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05: Sophie Ingle, Beth England, goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger, Jess Carter and Drew Spence pose with the trophy during the Vitality Womens FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Chelsea Women at Wembley Stadium on December 5, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Holders Chelsea comfortably beat Arsenal 3-0 in the final of last season’s competition, which actually took place mid-way through the current campaign.

Nearly 41,000 fans flocked to Wembley Stadium to witness the Blues lift the piece of famous silverware. It was the third successive time that the home of football has hosted over 40,000 supports for the grand showpiece of domestic English women’s football – with the exception of 2019/20 when the game was played behind closed doors.

Aston Villa have never won the competition, but 2021/22 marks arguably their best ever shot at doing so given that the strength of their squad is regarded as the best in their history. The arrival of Jill Scott on loan from Manchester City until the end of the season highlights this.

  • Team news

Aston Villa

Scott will be available for the weekend's game, as will summer signing Alisha Lehmann who was on the scoresheet in dramatic fashion last weekend as she scored a last-minute winner against Leicester City to record a first WSL win of the season.

The Switzerland international’s raw pace will be an asset that the home side will have to fully utilise if they are going to cause an upset.

Chelsea

Chelsea go into the fixture off the back of a vital 2-0 victory against West Ham United at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday evening; Bethany England and Erin Cuthbert’s strikes secured the Blues’ first three home points of 2022.

There are no fresh injuries to worry about as the holders look to get off to a strong start in this season's FA Cup.

Head to head

This will be the teams’ second meeting this term, having already faced off in the league when Villa were the hosts, with Chelsea emerging victorious with a 1-0 courtesy of Jessie Fleming’s first-half finish.

The Blues also won both meetings last season, 2-0 and 4-0 respectively, without conceding.

The last time Villa avoided defeat against Chelsea was in the 2-2 home draw back in 2010. They have only met each other five times since then, though.

  • Hype surrounding the game

Emma Hayes’ side are now unbeaten in three games, having tasted victory against West Ham twice already in the New Year and drawing away to Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. A lot of neutrals will be drawn to match because of Chelsea's prowess.

The Villains are making increased attempts to draw a record crowd to the Banks’s Stadium this weekend be once again opening The Fan Zone to supporters, with a mini bar/kiosk area available on the day.

There is also a gaming area where supporters can enjoy a game or two of FIFA 22 in the lead up to kick-off. Another aspect of the Fan Zone is 'The Post Box', where fans will have the chance to send a message to a first-team player of their choice. The area will be open from 11:30am until kick off and during half time.

The match will be available to view live on The 5th Stand app and Chelsea’s official website, with ex-player Katie Chapman providing expert analysis. The match kicks off at 1pm GMT.

As always, you can follow the game via both clubs' social media channels.

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