There’s a huge game in the Women’s FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday as holders Chelsea take on Arsenal once again.
Arsenal vs Chelsea – Sunday, kick off 12.30pm
While chelsea are still evaluating their squad after the international break, but Pernille Harder will be available for selection. However, Fran Kirby remains on the sidelines.
Emma Hayes said: “Not everyone is in full training today as they’ve been on different trips. Pernille will be back, I know that, but as far as team selection goes, I don’t Don’t do it until day one minus due to the nature of international breaks, which means some of them are still recovering from their games.
“Fran spent time in the background, suffered from a lot of fatigue. I don’t have a definitive reason for that, we don’t know, but we try to get to the bottom of it and take the time that we can to try to find the right solutions for Fran. This is something that is ongoing and unfortunately until we get to the bottom of it, Fran will not be available for selection.
Meanwhile, Arsenal have not reported any new injury concerns following the return of their players from international duty this week.
Eidevall: Meadow Park sold out is normal
Sunday’s semi-final showdown at Arsenal’s Meadow Park ground is complete – a fact that Gunners manager Jonas Eidevall described as “normal”.
He said: “I think it’s good but I think it deserves much higher attendance.
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“I could see this game in front of 30,000, 40,000 or 50,000 fans. I’m not going to jump around and say it’s the best thing for us.
“I think it’s normal, they’re two of the best teams in the world playing in a really important game. If that game hadn’t been sold out given the capacity we have at Meadow Park, I would have been really, really worried.
“It would mean we’re not going in the right direction, so it’s the least we can expect, that’s good but we need to grow more.”
Hayes: International break means unpredictable game
This weekend’s Women’s FA Cup semi-final comes after an international break, and Chelsea boss Hayes says it will create an unpredictable encounter.
She said: “That’s what you’re going to work for, those moments, those privileged positions and there’s nothing better than competing for a place to play in an FA Cup final.
“Playing against Arsenal we’ve had a lot of battles over the years, I certainly enjoy those games and I’m always looking forward to playing another top team.
“I always think the game after the international break makes things a lot more unpredictable. Normally you get a week of preparation or you’re in the momentum with your team.
“When you only have one training session when you get back together and you have to try and build up your momentum…you’ve seen it so often after an international break, team performances can take a bit more time to gel.
Hayes also praised Arsenal, with the two battling it out at the top of the WSL for much of the season. Chelsea also won the 2020/21 Women’s FA Cup final in December 3-0 and are determined to retain their title.
“The players have really become a top professional team competing on all fronts every year and that’s where we want to be, we want to compete to make the FA Cup final again,” added Hayes. “We are starters and we want to stick to it.
“There have been some good battles between us and Arsenal over the years. Arsenal have had a terrific season, really. We have been neck and neck in all competitions with them all the way, they are at home , sold out… we’re going to have to suffer at times in the game and I’m sure with the threats we have we’re going to cause problems.
“It is important for the team to remember that past results are not indicative of future performance.”
Not so long ago it was a thrilling 0-0 draw between the two WSL sides…
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