Attention turns towards the Women’s FA Cup this weekend as the 5th round fixtures come into focus. Chelsea Ladies have been given another assignment against a WSL 2 team, but this proposition could possibly be a lot tougher than in the last round. The Blues take on WSL 2 leaders Doncaster Belles who will be keen to cause an upset.
Chelsea played WSL 2 opposition in the round of 32 in the form of the London Bees, but they didn’t put up much of a challenge as they took a heavy 10-0 beating. It would be surprising for Chelsea to manage to hand out a repeat of that type of beating against Doncaster Belles who just like them are unbeaten in the league. Doncaster have won seven of their nine games, scoring 29 goals in the process and having the best defensive record in the WSL 2.
Doncaster haven’t lost in any competition since losing to Manchester City Women in the Continental Cup on the 6th of December and have won the last five on the bounce. This includes their fourth-round tie away at Tottenham Hotspur, whom they beat comfortably 3-0. The Belles also have had a fantastic record away from home this season and have won their last five away games.
Chelsea have themselves improved their results in recent weeks and have won three of the last four matches without conceding a goal. After the hectic schedule of their fixture list at the beginning of the year, the fixtures are starting to even themselves out for the Blues and thus the squad is fully fit and fresher to face the oncoming challenges. They beat Birmingham City Ladies away from home last weekend 2-0 and will enjoy being able to play back at home at Kingsmeadow for this tie.
Coincidentally, Doncaster Belles have faced Chelsea in the 5th round of the FA Cup for the last two years in a row. Last year, Chelsea ran out 7-0 winners with Dunn, Ji and Bachmann all getting on the score sheet. Then, in the 2015/2016 season, Chelsea came back from a goal down to beat Doncaster 4-1 and get to the Quarter Finals. The Belles will be hoping that on Sunday it is third time lucky for them and they will finally be able to beat Chelsea at this stage of the competition.
Chelsea will be playing a side who are full of confidence and will have to be weary of the threat they pose if they want to progress beyond the 5th round.
Chelsea Player to Watch: Katie Chapman
Doncaster Player to Watch: Jessica Sigsworth