5 talking points ahead of Women’s FA Cup final
Manchester City face West Ham at Wembley
Manchester City face West Ham in the Women’s FA Cup final on Saturday.
Here Press Association Sport looks at some talking points ahead of the showpiece at Wembley.
City aiming for a double
After going trophyless last season, City have had a hugely impressive 2018-19 and are looking to make it two pieces of silverware for the campaign. Nick Cushing’s side claimed the Continental League Cup in February, beating Arsenal on penalties at Bramall Lane following a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes. They were hunting down a treble, but their Women’s Super League hopes came to an end with the Gunners being crowned champions on Sunday.
Although they have been pipped to the title by Arsenal, City have not lost a single WSL game this term and Saturday’s contest is one of two more fixtures they have left as they look to complete the season unbeaten domestically. Their final WSL match is an away clash next week with Arsenal, who they beat 2-0 in the reverse match in December but have ended up trailing by four points in second place.
West Ham the underdogs
City – FA Cup winners in 2017 – look very much the favourites for victory on Saturday, taking on a West Ham outfit who have reached the final of the competition for the first time in what is their maiden season as a professional club. The two WSL meetings between the teams saw Matt Beard’s seventh-placed side beaten 7-1 away and 3-1 at home.
Experience in the ranks
Underdogs they may be, but the Hammers have notable experience in their squad. Captain Gilly Flaherty has seven FA Cups on her CV, the latest of which came last season with Chelsea, while Scotland striker Jane Ross was with City when they lifted the trophy and won the WSL two years ago.
The Women’s FA Cup final has been held at Wembley for the last four years, with the attendance increasing each time, and it is hoped the 2018 figure of 45,423 will be exceeded on Saturday. It is understood more than 50,000 tickets have been issued, including both sales and those distributed. According to the Football Association, the record attendance for a women’s game in English football is the 53,000 that saw Dick Kerr Ladies beat St Helens Ladies 4-0 at Goodison Park in 1920.
Hammer blow for fans
Two-and-a-half hours before Saturday’s 5.30pm kick-off, West Ham’s men’s team host Southampton in the Premier League and the Hammers had wanted that game brought forward to a 12.30pm start to give fans the chance to travel to the final. However, they announced last week the Premier League had decided the change would not be possible due to the potential inconvenience caused to supporters who had already planned journeys and purchased tickets.