By Joe Brewin
Laura Harvey believes a repeat of last week’s performance against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium should be enough to seal a place in the FA Women’s Cup final.
Harvey’s side secured a deserved 3-1 win over the Blues in front of a record Women’s Super League crowd - the first of two key matches in a week against Matt Beard’s team.
Chelsea are looking for their first ever appearance in the final but Harvey believes her side has what it takes to see the job through.
“Exactly the same performance with exactly the same scoreline would be ideal,” she told Arsenal.com. “That is just something we strive for in every game we play in to be honest.
“I think they proved last week that they are going to be tough opponents. We obviously know quite a lot about each other from games over a number of years but we believe that if we can play anything like we did last week then we should be OK tonight.
“Because they have a few former players we know what we are facing. Obviously you don't have that insight into some of the other teams and you go in a little bit blind. But we know quite a lot about their players individually and Chelsea as a team and that can only be a bonus.”
Arsenal have reached the final in seven of their last eight seasons, winning six of those to cement their position as the dominant force in the women’s game. And Harvey insists her side’s desire to win the competition is still as fierce as ever.
“We like to think that the FA Cup is something we strive for every year and getting to the final is the minimum target we set ourselves,” she said. “In the last few years we have done that, one with a final win and one with a defeat.
“We know how disappointing it can be when things don't go your way but we have to make sure we do the job tonight and get ourselves into the final.”
Awaiting in the final are a Birmingham side who booked their place with a comfortable 4-1 win over last year’s finalists Bristol two weeks ago.
The Blues proved stiff competition in last season’s treble-winning campaign but Harvey believes her team can get the better of David Parker’s outfit once more.
“Birmingham have known for a couple of weeks now that they are in the final and so they are just waiting to see who they are up against,” she said. “We proved in the final last year that we can perform against any team and that will be no different if we can be successful tonight.
“We believe we can go to the FA Cup final and do the business there as well. I am sure if we get there that Birmingham will look at where they went wrong in the Continental Cup final last year and try to put those things right.”
Harvey has a near fully-fit squad to select from, with only Jayne Ludlow struggling for fitness after sitting out last week’s WSL victory. Faye White and Julie Fleeting are still absent.
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