Rising star Chloe Kelly will face off against her former club in the FA Cup final on Sunday. The recent Manchester City signing will meet Everton at Wembley as the two northern sides vie for some silverware.
The striker joined the Citizens after finishing as Willie Kirk’s top scorer in the Women’s Super League last season. Her run of blistering form has carried on into her new club, already netting three league goals this term.
Kelly has played a big role in City’s FA Cup run since the new campaign started. The 22-year-old opened her Man City portfolio against Leicester City in September, sealing their ticket into the semi-final.
Now, a tender fixture awaits as the Lioness looks to cause an upset to her former teammates. But for Kelly, there’s only one thing on her mind as she prepares to walk out under the Wembley lights.
“It’s a strange situation but it’s an FA Cup final – something dreams are made of and I’m really looking forward to it,” Kelly told Her Football Hub. “Of course it’s against my old club but it’s just another game of football and another FA Cup final. No matter who it’s against, we just want to get the job done.”
Chance for City to Make Their Mark
Gareth Taylor’s side may be a little disappointed with their start to the 2020/21 WSL season. They currently sit fifth in the table on eight points, already trailing by seven points behind current leaders Arsenal.
A win on Sunday will not only cement City’s third FA Cup title, but it will give them a much-needed boost to re-establish themselves in the league.Embed from Getty Images
Kelly joined the Manchester side along with US National Team stars Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. Taylor will undoubtedly field a strong team to take on Everton, but has stressed the importance of not underestimating the Blues’ ability.
“I’ve admired what Willie has done,” the City boss commented. “They obviously lost Chloe, which would have been a bit of a blow for them but they’ve recruited really well, made a decent start to the season and have done well in the cup competitions as well.”Embed from Getty Images
Indeed, the Toffees have brushed aside the likes of Bristol City and Birmingham to reach the FA Cup final. Their shock win over reigning league champions Chelsea at Goodison Park puts them in good stead to really challenge Man City on the big stage.
“They’ve done great this season but we want to find a way to break them down at the weekend,” Kelly said.
A New Era for Chloe Kelly
Whilst the forward was the focal point of Everton’s attack, she is rapidly becoming a favourite of Taylor’s. Kelly has already established herself as a key player for her new side and could play a crucial part in their battle on Sunday.
Kelly highlighted that whilst the lack of supporters at Wembley will be disappointing, the team know that “the fans are behind us at home”.
Covid-19 regulations continue to forbid fans from attending live matches, but for the first time in history, the FA Cup final will be broadcast for both UK and non-UK viewers.
“I haven’t really spoken to the girls too much this week. I’m trying to keep the communication to a minimum,” Kelly said on her friendship with her former Everton teammates. “I’m focused on the game now and I just want to get my head in that frame of mind.
“But the girls are great there and I have a great relationship with a lot of the players.”
England’s rising star will be looking to build on her cup competition portfolio by having an impact on Sunday. Kelly featured in Arsenal’s FA Cup final match day squad in 2016, but was limited to the substitute bench as the Gunners were victorious over Chelsea.
“It was nice to get a taste back in 2016 but I feel like it just made me more hungry to just get there again and get on the pitch this time,” the striker admitted. “I’ll do whatever it takes this week to work my socks off and try to get in the starting 11.”
The 2019/20 FA Cup final will be available to stream live on the FA Player, and across various global networks.