We face Manchester City in the Continental League Cup final for the second consecutive season on Saturday. Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game.
THE STORY SO FAR
We ran out 1-0 winners in last season’s decider thanks to a first-half strike from Vivianne Miedema, ensuring that Joe Montemurro lifted a trophy less than four months into his reign as our head coach.
It was the perfect start to his debut season in north London, and this time around it could serve as the perfect confidence booster going into the home straight of our Women’s Super League campaign.
We kicked off the group stage with a 3-1 win over West Ham on the opening day of the season, before Kim Little and Miedema hit hat-tricks in a 9-0 thrashing on the road to Lewes.
This was followed up by a 5-0 win over Charlton and a 3-1 win over Millwall, meaning we finished the group stage with maximum points to book our place in the quarter-finals.
It was in that stage against Birmingham that we faced our toughest challenge of the tournament so far.
The Blues defended resolutely and took the lead in the 61st minute through Lucy Quinn, before two strikes in the final five minutes from Danielle van de Donk and Miedema sealed our final-four place in dramatic fashion.
We then went on to face Manchester United for the first time ever at Meadow Park, where an impressive double from Miedema helped us secure a 2-1 victory, despite some late pressure from the Red Devils.
A win on Saturday would see us lift the trophy for the the sixth time since 2011.
The Citizens head into this fixture in fine form, having slipped to just one defeat across all competitions since September 26.
They’re currently top of the Women’s Super League table on 38 points after 16 fixtures, winning 11 and drawing five. However, we still have two games in hand over Nick Cushing’s side.
City defeated Birmingham 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in their first Continental Cup outing, before thrashing Leicester City 4-0 and Bristol City 3-0.
They then went on to beat Sheffield United 6-0 and Aston Villa 4-0, ensuring that they finished top of Group Two on 14 points without conceding a single goal.
Next up was a quarter-final clash against Brighton & Hove Albion, where they ran out 7-1 winners in impressive style, before they sealed their place in the final with a professional 2-0 win over Chelsea.
Nikita Parris struck twice against Emma Hayes’ side - and she will almost certainly be their biggest threat on Saturday, having scored 15 goals in the WSL this season.
THE MANAGER’S NOTES
“They’ve got a big squad and they’ve got a lot of good players, so I won’t be surprised if they balance the squad out to get the best team possible for Saturday,” said Montemurro.
“They’ve got pace up top in Nikita Parris and they’ve got some players in midfield that can really hurt you too, so at the moment they’re in form, they’re doing well and they drew with Chelsea last week in the league, so they’re the in-form team. We’re up for a big one.”
ONE TO WATCH
Given that both sides play fluid attacking football, we’ll be needing Miedema at her clinical best on Saturday if we want to lift the trophy.
The 22-year-old has scored 25 goals across all competition this season - but she offers so much more than just the final touch.
She’s also the focal point of almost every attack, which allows her to stretch the opposition’s defence and bring her team-mates into play.
As a result, she’s assisted seven times in the WSL this season, which is the second-highest out of anyone in the league.
Having scored the decisive goal in last year’s final, Miedema will be desperate to do it all over again on Saturday.
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