FA Cup: Manchester City ready up against West Ham

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As the 2020/21 season finally draws to a close, Manchester City will once again welcome West Ham United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The two teams met just seven days ago for the finale of the WSL, where the Sky Blues came away with a slender 1-0 victory.

The City Football Academy will play host to the Hammers for the second time this season as Gareth Taylor’s side eye back-to-back FA cup titles.

The game could prove an interesting match with Manchester City and their relentless attack and the strong backline of West Ham.

Team news

Manchester City are currently without a number of their key players. Taylor stated in his pre-match conference that No.2 Aoife Mannion would once again be unavailable. The defender, who has recently returned from an ACL injury that left her sidelined for 18 months, suffered a fall in the gym. While Taylor stressed it was not too serious, it will be a longer recovery than had previously been expected.

First choice goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck and team captain Steph Houghton are also unavailable. Demi Stokes will not feature due to a thigh injury whilst forward Chloe Kelly has undergone surgery to repair an ACL tear and will now begin her rehabilitation. 

West Ham’s No.10 Kateřina Svitková underwent surgery on an ankle injury the club announced yesterday. Adriana Leon is also unavailable as she continues her recovery from a broken foot sustained earlier in the season. Martha Thomas, Emily Van Egmond and Cecilie Redisch all missed last week’s WSL finale and Van Egmond and Thomas both remain serious doubts for the trip to Manchester.

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Ones to watch

Manchester City

Esme Morgan was named as Manchester City’s rising star during the team awards on Friday and it’s not hard to see why. The No.14 has had a formidable season back in Manchester following her return from a loan spell at Everton.

The 20-year-old has seamlessly slotted into the Manchester City backline despite playing alongside World cup and Champions league winners. Houghton was also full of praise for Morgan in the teams programme, particularly how far the defender has developed throughout the season. 

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West Ham

Hawa Cissoko could be a vital player for the Hammers as they contend with City’s attacking threat. The No.23 will play a pivotal role in the visitors’ backline and her skills will be vital.

West Ham’s defense has been much improved throughout the season and they are now a much more difficult side to break down. It would be hard to argue that Cissoko has not been a vital part of this improvement.