FA Women's Cup Final: Arsenal's road to Wembley

With the women's FA Cup final taking place this weekend, we look back at Arsenal's journey to the final.

FA Women's Cup Final: Arsenal's road to Wembley
Sari van Veenendaal was the hero in the quarter-finals for Arsenal.

Arsenal's WSL form so far this season hasn't been great. However the FA Women's Cup has acted as a kind distraction for Pedro Martinez Losa's players - who have reached the final - and are aiming to add to their record 13 victories in the competition this weekend.

If the Gunners are to go on and win the Women's FA Cup for a 14th time though, they will have to overcome current holders Chelsea, who have been dominant in the WSL so far this campaign. 

Last 16

Arsenal managed to beat a resilient Birmingham side in the final 16 of the competition to reach the quarter finals, as they came from behind to eventually win on penalties. Former Arsenal girl Freda Ayisi gave Birmingham the lead before the half hour mark, but Danielle Carter scored late on to equalise and take the game to extra-time. A goal couldn't be found in the extra 30 minutes though as the game went to a dreaded penalty shoot-out. 

Kelly Smith made her long awaited comeback from injury as a substitute, and she was one of the players to score her penalty - along with Leah Williamson, Natalia, Jordan Nobbs and Carter - as Arsenal won 5-3 on penalties. 

Quarter-finals

It was another stalemate in the next round for Arsenal as they were held to a 2-2 draw with Notts County before advancing again on penalties. Kelly Smith was making her first start in almost 10 months, and she marked it by striking a brilliant volley to open the scoring.

However Notts County pulled ahead thanks to goals from Sophie Bradley-Auckland and Aivi Luik. The Gunners required another late equaliser though, as Spanish forward Natalia fired home with nine minutes on the clock after Ellen White had been sent off for County. 

Arsenal goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal was the hero in the shoot-out, saving three penalties as her side marched on into the semi-finals. 

Will Arsenal be victorious on Saturday? | Image source: Arsenal
Will Arsenal be victorious on Saturday? | Image source: Arsenal

Semi-finals

Arsenal's most convincing victory surprisingly came just one round from Wembley, as they beat Sunderland 7-0. That was despite being reduced to 10 players for much of the game after Emma Mitchell was sent off for two bookable offences. Dutch striker Danielle van de Donk was the stand-out player for Losa's side as she struck an impressive hat-trick, netting once before the break and then twice late on. 

Carter also added to her FA Cup tally, scoring twice in the second half as Nobbs also got herself on the score-sheet, along with Fara Williams. The experienced midfielder bagged her first goal for the club, firing home a spot kick after a foul on van de Donk which resulted in a red for Abby Holmes. It was a very dominant display from Arsenal who will look to take that performance into the final on Saturday afternoon. 

Can Arsenal do it? 

If Arsenal are to go on and win the FA Women's Cup again then they will have to be a lot better than they have been so far in 2016. Some inconsistent performances have led to them falling off the pace in the league but a trophy win could spark renewed confidence.

The defence will have to deal with the likes Eni Aluko, Fran Kirby and Ji So-yun who have been an ever potent threat this season. If Arsenal can somehow keep them at bay then they will have every chance of reigning victorious this weekend.

A final usually sees form go out of the window, so anything could happen when the two teams walk out at Wembley.