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Rachel Corsie on a potential Manchester derby cup final, Fifa’s best XI confusion and Aberdeen’s bid to bounce back

Man Utd players celebrate the winning goal in the FA Womens League Cup against Arsenal.
Man Utd players celebrate the winning goal in the FA Womens League Cup against Arsenal.

The FA’s Continental League Cupsemi-finals are set to be an all-star clash with the remaining teams all in the top five of the FA WSL’s top flight.

The draw for the next round followed Wednesday night fixtures and the possibility of a Manchester derby final has certainly added some extra excitement to the competition.

Manchester City will host Spurs, while Manchester United will make the trip south to face holders Chelsea.

The standout fixture from this week’s action saw Manchester United travel to league leaders Arsenal, who have been in a run of poor form following four defeats in five games.

As speculation continues over what is at the root of the club’s troubles, things got worse for Jonas Eidevall’s side.

The game was even for much of it with very few clear chances for either team before Alessia Russo scored an 85th minute header at the back post to give Manchester United a hard-earned 1-0 victory.

For Chelsea, there was no mistake made by Emma Hayes’ side, who have been out of competitive action since the first week in December following a relentless run of postponed fixtures.

Before the game it was unclear as to whether that would make them refreshed or weary-legged.

However, they cruised through the game and a Pernille Harder hat-trick was the highlight as they comfortably saw off West Ham in a 4-2 win.

Scotland’s Erin Cuthbert got the other goal for the Blues on the night and the make-shift wing-back looks like she has found some momentum in her new position for the club.

Kirsty Hanson (18 Man Utd) in action against Arsenal.

Elsewhere, there was the potential for a slight upset as high-flying Spurs took on top of the Championship, Liverpool.

Liverpool dominated possession, although the game was another even battle, and Spurs probably had the better of the chances. A single goal was likely going to be the difference as the game continued and it eventually did come as former England forward Rachel Williams scored midway through the second half to ensure that Tottenham progressed.

The final game of the round came from the City Academy Stadium where Manchester City hosted Bristol City.

As expected, it was overwhelmingly one-sided, despite the visitors taking an early lead thanks to an unfortunate Alex Greenwood own goal in the 18th minute.

The hosts peppered Sophie Whitehouse in the Bristol goal with 32 attempts across the 90 minutes and after Khadija Shaw equalised fewer than ten minutes after her side fell behind the outcome was inevitable. Another from Shaw and a goal from Vicky Losada on either side of half-time helped Manchester City reach another semi-final.

With a heavy schedule running through to the end of the season, the ties will be played this coming Wednesday and Thursday. However, all clubs will first need to turn their focus to league action this weekend.

Surprise omission from team of the year

There was some confusion midweek as FIFA’s Best awards were announced.

The voting process is composed of current national managers and captains with additional votes for select media and a small percentage to fan votes.

Barcelona’s Ballon D’or winner Alexia Putellas added to her personal trophy collection as she picked up Women’s Player of the Year, with Robert Lewandowski earning the men’s award.

Lewandowski shared a public post paying great respect to the achievements of Putellas, acknowledging her global impact on and off the field.

However, Putellas astonishingly failed to make the Best XI, which instead comprised of a number of players who were surprise additions given their playing contributions through the year itself.

As many players within the game spoke out about the final results, the process does comes through a democratic voting system and therefore should portray a better reflection of the year’s biggest performers.

As such, there has been a call for far greater visibility of the game across mainstream channels, which has been criticised as still largely underwhelming and disproportionate given the game’s stature.

Meanwhile, Chelsea won both manager awards with Emma Hayes and Thomas Tuchel named as winners. Hayes has been on a run of personal acknowledgements for her work since the turn of the year but insisted the collective movement was most important to her and gave credit to the great team of people around her.

The Special Award was given to Christine Sinclair who led her side to Olympic Gold in the summer and in 308 appearances for Canada there is nobody who has scored more than her 188 international goals.

Chance for the Dons to respond

Aberdeen have the chance to bounce back from their disappointing performance and defeat last weekend as they travel to the capital to face Hearts on Sunday.

Letting a 2-0 lead slip was costly for the Dons, after they had a great opportunity to secure a more comfortable league position.

They lost 3-2 the last time they faced Hearts and with both sides having only won three games this season, this is one that the Dons must take something from.

Aberdeen Women’s Francesca Ogilvie devastated as brace rendered ‘pointless’ after 3-2 defeat to Spartans

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