Women’s FA Cup: Six key matches in the fourth round

Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in last season's FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium
Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 in last season’s FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium

Women’s Super League clubs enter the FA Cup this weekend – and there are plenty of storylines emerging as the fourth round looms.

Nine sides outside of the top flight remain in the tournament, including fifth-tier Luton Town, who face top-flight Brighton on Sunday.

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Holders Chelsea are also in action against rivals West Ham, record-winners Arsenal are hoping to avoid an upset against the Championship strugglers Watford and National League Newcastle will be trying to stun Manchester United.

There is so much happening, so to help you out, BBC Sport has chosen six key matches to keep across this weekend.

A proper David v Goliath

https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.51.0/iframe.htmlLuton Town ready for Women’s FA Cup challenge against top-flight Brighton, says Samaira Khan

Let’s start with Luton Town, the lowest-ranked side left in the competition.

The Hatters are fifth in the Premier Division of the Eastern Region League, the fifth tier of the women’s game, and face WSL side Brighton, who are 43 places above them in the football pyramid, on Sunday (13:00 GMT).

Just to reach this stage of the competition, Luton have had to fight their way through five matches, including two preliminary rounds.

Their last-32 opponents Brighton have struggled in the league this season, having won two of their past 10 WSL games.

What’s more, history is on the underdogs’ side. Luton beat Brighton in the third round of the FA Cup way back in 2008.

With the Seagulls having not played competitively since 17 December, this might be the chance for lightning to strike twice.

BBC to show Durham against Man City

Manchester City players celebrate their FA Cup win in 2020
Manchester City last lifted the FA Cup in 2020, beating Everton 3-1 after extra time in the final

The BBC television cameras will be at Maiden Castle on Sunday (12:30 GMT) as Durham, sixth in the Championship, host three-time winners Manchester City.

And those tuning in on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website may just witness a cup classic. After all, Durham were holding Aston Villa 0-0 at half-time in the League Cup in December, although tiredness did eventually contribute to a 5-1 defeat.

City are unbeaten in five matches, have a star-studded squad and are second in the WSL. On paper, they have more than enough to prevent an upset.

Their captain Steph Houghton grew up in Durham. This week she told BBC Sport: “I love my hometown, I love being from the north-east and I’m proud to be from there.

“I do feel a lot of my attributes on the pitch are because of the people I grew up with.”

Can unbeatable Newcastle stun Man Utd?

Newcastle Women last played at St. James' Park in April, beating Bradford 6-1 in front of 24,092 fans
Newcastle Women last played at St James’ Park in April, beating Bradford 6-1 in front of 24,092 fans

Two divisions separate last season’s runners-up Manchester United and third-tier Newcastle, but the Red Devils’ fixture on Sunday (12:00 GMT) may be a tricky one.

Newcastle became fully professional last summer, the first club to do so while still in the Women’s National League for 23 years.

And the Magpies’ performances have been matching their lofty ambitions. They have not lost a match for more than 13 months.

So, while Manchester United will be trotting out for their first competitive match since 17 December, Newcastle are in red hot form, having thrashed FC Halifax 7-0 last weekend.

Moneyfields look to continue FA Cup dream

Moneyfields FC Women celebrate a goal against Exeter City
Moneyfields, wearing yellow and navy blue, are fourth in National League Division One South West with games in hand on two of the sides above them

The winners of each fourth-round tie will receive £54,000 in prize money while the losing team will earn £13,000. By Sunday evening, Moneyfields of the fourth tier could be chanting “money by name, money by nature”.

The Portsmouth-based club, who play in the National League Division One South West and were only founded in 2017, face Championship promotion-chasers London City Lionesses on Sunday (15:00 GMT).

“It’s a huge game for us,” coach Hannah Humphreys told BBC Radio Solent. “We have to put in so much work to ensure we have enough financial backing that the girls can play football without having to worry.

“We don’t charge our players – a lot of clubs have to. This will help us become a bit more comfortable.”

Chelsea face West Ham without Kerr

Holders Chelsea are chasing a fourth consecutive WSL-FA Cup double this year, with departing manager Emma Hayes hoping to sign off in style.

Standing in the Blues’ way are London rivals West Ham.

Rehanne Skinner’s side were out of form before the winter break, winning just one of their opening 10 league matches.

But they have brought in trio Kristie Mewis, Shelina Zadorsky and Katrina Gorry this month, while Chelsea will be without key striker Sam Kerr who sustained an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury this week.

Kerr has been crucial for Chelsea in this competition, scoring five goals across the past three FA Cup finals. How will Chelsea respond?

Arsenal continue powerful campaign

Arsenal captain Leah Williamson models the shirt
Arsenal’s Leah Williamson wearing the shirt, which the women’s team will wear against Watford in the FA Cup fourth round on 14 January

Finally to Arsenal. The record 14-time winners are hoping to lift the FA Cup for the first time since 2016.

They face the Championship’s bottom club Watford on Sunday (13:00 GMT) and will be wearing an all-white kit as part of the club’s No More Red campaign, which aims to combat youth knife crime in London.

“It’s the third season of the campaign but the first season we’ve been able to have a women’s team wear the No More Red jerseys and I think that’s a really powerful message,” said Eidevall.

“In order to change things, you have to invest in https://mendapatkankol.com/ them long term and it’s really pleasing to see that at the club.”

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