Arsenal Women to return to FA Cup action

Arsenal Women's manager Joe Montemurro

Arsenal Women's manager Joe Montemurro issues instructions from the touchline - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Arsenal Women will return to FA Cup action in April it has been confirmed by the Football Association. 

The Gunners have been drawn against one of Portsmouth, Cheltenham, Crawley Wasps or Gillingham, in a game that will be played at Meadow Park on April 18.

Joe Montemurro's side enter the competition in the fourth round, alongside all elite teams in the Women's Super League and Championship.

The competition was paused in January at the second round stage after the country went into its third lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, with all ‘non-elite’ football suspended as a result.  

However, it has now got the green light to return on March 31 and if the Gunners should win their tie they will progress into the fifth round at a date to be confirmed.

An FA statement said: “The Football Association is pleased to confirm that following the Government’s recent roadmap announcement which will see the safe return of grassroots football from 29 March, the 2020/2021 Vitality Women’s FA Cup will recommence at the end of this month.

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“With the recent announcement that the suspension will be lifted in a few weeks, The FA is in a position to reschedule the first four rounds of the competition – with one tie still to be played in the first round and 17 in the second round, before the third and fourth rounds can be played.”

The Football Association have also announced that the quarter-final, semi-final and final - to be played at Wembley Stadium - will be carried over into the 2021-22 campaign. 

Arsenal reached last season's semi-final stage, where they lost 2-1 to Manchester City with Jordan Nobbs scoring a stunning goal for Montemurro's side. 

The Gunners last won the competition in 2016 when they beat London rivals Chelsea 1-0 at the national stadium with a goal from Danielle Carter. 

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Arsenal are the most successful side in the history of the FA Cup as they have lifted the trophy on 14 occasions. 

Manchester City are the current holders of the competition after beating Everton 3-1 in the delayed 2019-20 final in November.

*Arsenal's crunch Women's Super League clash against Manchester United has been confirmed for Friday March 19. 

The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK and has a 6.30pm kick off time as the race for the Champions League heats up. 

Arsenal are currently six points behind United but do have a game in hand over the Red Devils and Joe Montemurro's side do have a considerably better goal difference.

The last time the two teams met it was Casey Stoney's side who took all three points when Ella Toone struck an 83rd-minute winner back in November. 

The game was originally scheduled for Thursday March 18 - the same night as Arsenal's  men take on Olympiacos in the Europa League - and the chance gives fans the chance to watch both games.

Arsenal have played Manchester United Women three teams in their history, winning 1-0 in the curtaied 2019-20 season thanks to a late Danielle van de Donk goal.

The previous meeting came in the Continental Cup in 2019 as the Gunners won 2-1 at Meadow Park with Vivianne Miedema scoring a brace to send Arsenal into the final.

Arsenal travel to Birmingham City this weekend while Manchester United host their Midlands rivals Aston Villa.

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