Women's FA Cup, Chelsea v Arsenal: Carly Telford on 'feisty, full-blooded derby'


Carly Telford was part of the Chelsea team that won a league and cup double last term

Holders Chelsea expect a “feisty, full-blooded derby” in their Women’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Arsenal, says Blues and England keeper Carly Telford.

Sunday’s match (14:00 GMT) is a repeat of the 2018 final, when Chelsea beat the 14-time winners 3-1 at Wembley.

Arsenal have beaten Chelsea 5-0 in the league this term, but Telford’s side won January’s reverse fixture 2-1.

“To have a red versus blue so early in the competition, with a big team to go out, is huge,” Telford told BBC Sport.

“It’s our cup to lose at the moment. We’re the holders. The Women’s FA Cup is the pinnacle for us.

“Form goes out of the window. It’ll just be who wants it most on the day.”

The Gunners are four points above third-placed Chelsea in the Women’s Super League table, with two games in hand, as they chase a first league title since 2012.

The winners of Sunday’s tie will reach the last eight, with the draw live on Monday from 18:45 on the BBC News Channel, the BBC Sport website and Connected TV.

Arsenal midfielder Kim Little has won more than 100 caps for Scotland

Arsenal midfielder Kim Little is looking forward to what she feels will be “a huge tie”.

She said: “If you want to win the cup, you’ve got to win every tie and beat the best sides, so it just makes it more exciting to be drawn against Chelsea at this stage.

“For me, it’s just another game against another side, so we have to put past ties against them out of their minds.

“Obviously they outplayed us in the final last season, but we’ll be doing our best to put that right on Sunday.”

Arsenal are challenging for both league and cup honours, which Telford feels is due in large part to their manager Joe Montemurro.

“In the past two or three years, they hadn’t been the Arsenal they once were,” she added. “They now have a manager the girls love and want to play for and fight for.

“Now they’re in a good place and they’re very threatening going forward. They’re a fantastic team full of international talent – but luckily enough I think we’re exactly on level terms.

“Whoever scores first between us seems to go on to win. It’s going to be a very good game – a very feisty, very full-blooded, London derby. We want to get into the next round for the blue side of London.”

Three keepers, one shirt

Carly Telford played against Chelsea with Notts County in the 2015 final

On Tuesday, Telford, signed a new deal with the Blues until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

The 31-year-old faces significant competition for the number one shirt at Kingsmeadow, training alongside Sweden stopper Hedvig Lindahl and Germany’s Ann-Katrin Berger, who arrived in January from Birmingham.

“Probably a lot of people questioned it, with three very good goalkeepers at one club,” she said.

“But, for me, it’s different in women’s football, especially because there’s not quality goalkeeping coaching at every club.

“Yes, it’s important to be playing as much as possible for my development but, at the same time, the quality of the coaching here has allowed me to move up the ladder and get more starts as an international.

“So there’s a little bit of sacrifice on my part but I feel very much at home here. The girls feel like my family. For Chelsea to want to keep me on is fantastic.”

Telford is expected to be a key part of England’s squad for this summer’s Women’s World Cup in France.

“Leading up to a World Cup, it’s good for all of us here,” she continued. “There’s a bigger picture with this.

“If you’re not learning and getting better every day then what’s the point? That’s why I decided to stay at Chelsea. The environment that I’m in is world-class.”

Women’s FA Cup 2018-19
Remaining round dates Prize fund for round winners
Fifth round: Sunday, 17 February (8) £3,000
Quarter-final: Sunday, 17 March (4) £4,000
Semi-final: Sunday, 14 April (2) £5,000
Final: Saturday, 4 May Runners-up: £15,000; Winners £25,000

Sunday’s eight ties involve just one side from outside the top two tiers – Huddersfield Town of the National League North, who travel to West Ham United.

Chelsea and Arsenal’s meeting at Kingsmeadow is one of two all-top-flight ties, with in-form Birmingham City making the trip to sixth-placed Reading.

WSL leaders Manchester City are away to Women’s Championship table-toppers Tottenham, while Manchester United host fellow second-tier outfit London Bees.

Sunday’s Women’s FA Cup fifth-round fixtures

14:00 unless stated:

  • Liverpool v Millwall Lionesses
  • Bristol City v Durham
  • Reading v Birmingham City
  • Chelsea v Arsenal
  • Manchester United v London Bees
  • West Ham United v Huddersfield Town
  • Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City
  • Aston Villa v Sheffield United (15:00)

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