Women’s FA Cup final: Double dreamers Chelsea and Manchester United meet at sold-out Wembley

Chelsea lift the 2022 Women's FA Cup
Date: Sunday, 14 May Venue: Wembley Stadium, London Kick-off: 14:30 BST
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online. Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live & BBC Sounds & follow live text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app.

As they go toe-to-toe in the Women’s Super League title race, Chelsea and Manchester United will also face off in the FA Cup final at a sold-out Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea are aiming to win the FA Cup for the third year in a row, and the fifth time overall, while Marc Skinner’s United are playing in their first women’s final.

The WSL’s current top two will be playing in front of a record crowd in the Women’s FA Cup, in a game which will be using the video assistant referee (VAR) system used for the first time.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Wembley showpiece.

Can Man Utd end Chelsea hoodoo?

Manchester United will have to overcome a huge challenge to win their first major trophy – beating a team they have never defeated before.

In nine meetings in all competitions, they have earned just one draw, losing the other eight – including their only two defeats in the WSL this season – but Skinner isn’t reading too much into those previous results.

“We know we can beat Chelsea, but we know how difficult that is,” he said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if you want to pick a favourite, then Chelsea should be put on that mantle because of the fact they have been here before and done this before.

“But the reality is we have a team of rebels that want to make sure that won’t be the fact.”

United’s squad is not short of Wembley experience, even though it is the team’s first visit there since being reformed five years ago.

Forward Ella Toone scored England’s opener in the Euro 2022 final, in which goalkeeper Mary Earps also played, and Skinner said he would “be stupid not to” call on that experience.

He also says he has learned “loads” from when his Birmingham side lost to Manchester City in the 2017 final.

“What we got wrong at Birmingham was making it a massive event and more than it should have been,” he said. “It was naivety. We put quotes on the wall from players and families so it became an emotional event rather than a clear business-like event.”

‘We’re always favourites in our eyes’

Sam Kerr in action for Chelsea

Chelsea have lost one final this season – to Arsenal in the Continental League Cup in March – and were narrowly beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, so will be desperate to get their hands on silverware this weekend.

They have the perfect player for the big occasion in striker Sam Kerr, who has scored four goals across their past two FA Cup finals, including the extra-time winner as they beat Manchester City 3-2 last year.

Hayes’ side will be looking to become the first team since Arsenal in 2008 to win the trophy three times in a row.

“Previous success is not indicative of future success,” said Hayes. “We’re playing an outstanding team who have led the way in the league this year. They’re deserving to be in the cup final.

“Being there in the past gives you the luxury of understanding what it’s like but it’s no advantage whatsoever.

“This year our team has been written off quite easily but we’re always favourites in our eyes.”

The Blues come into the match having scored 13 goals without reply in their past two WSL games, while they have Pernille Harder, who has missed the majority of the campaign due to injury, back and in form.

“We’re in the best place we’ve been in this season,” added Hayes.

A landmark sell-out and VAR

Whatever happens on the pitch, this Women’s FA Cup final will make history as the first Wembley sell-out since the game was first played at the national stadium in 2015.

Tickets for the showpiece final at the 90,000-seater venue sold out on 3 May.

Graphic detailing the attendances of Women's FA Cup finals since 2015

Sunday’s match is the fourth successive women’s fixture at Wembley to sell out, following three England games – the Euro 2022 final, October’s friendly with world champions the United States and April’s Finalissima against Brazil.

“We’ve reached that point that selling out Wembley is no just longer a pipe dream,” said Hayes.

“I was probably disappointed the crowd wasn’t bigger last year, then obviously with the Lionesses winning [the Euros], I knew there should be no excuse this year.”

Meanwhile, VAR and goalline technology will get a first run out in the competition’s history, with the WSL referees’ chief Bibi Steinhaus-Webb saying they had prepared for its use in the final for a “sustained period of time”.

It has previously been used in international women’s tournaments, while it also featured in the latter stages of the Women’s Champions League, but it is not used in women’s domestic competitions in England.

The path to the final

Chelsea’s road to Wembley was paved exclusively with WSL rivals. United, meanwhile, did not face a top-division opponent until the last four, as they overcame three Championship sides en route to the semi-finals.

Chelsea's results so far in the 2022-23 Women's FA CupMan Utd's results so far in the 2022-23 Women's FA Cup

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