- Wembley stages the 50th Women’s FA Cup final on Sunday
- On-song Everton face holders Manchester City
- We bring you some facts, stats, quotes and social media posts
After Eni Aluko grabbed Charlton Athletic a 1-0 win over Everton in the 2005 decider, the FA Women’s Cup final has averaged 3.43 goals per game – an exciting sign for those tuning in on Sunday.
Previous Women’s FA Cup finals
After losing in the 1988 final, Everton – then known as Leasowe – edged a Hope Powell-inspired Fulham 3-2 in the following year’s decider at Old Trafford. The Toffees lost to Charlton and Arsenal in the respective 2005 and 2014 finals, but beat the Gunners 3-2 in an extra-time thriller in 2010, with Rachel Brown, Fara Williams, Jill Scott, Natasha Dowie and Toni Duggan among their triumphant players.
City have won the two finals they appeared in. In 2017, goals from Lucy Bronze, Izzy Christiansen, Carli Lloyd and Jill Scott secured a 4-1 win over Birmingham City. Keira Walsh, Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp were on target in a 3-0 win over West Ham United in last year’s decider, with Karen Bardsley’s clean sheet at Wembley ensuring City went through their entire FA Cup campaign without conceding a goal.
The 42-year-old, a former non-league footballer from Edinburgh, served as Casey Stoney’s assistant before taking over at Everton in 2018. A keen golfer, his wife recently gave birth to a baby boy, Finley.
The Weston-super-Mare native began his career as a defender before being converted into a striker and forming a partnership with Shaun Goater up front for Manchester City. He won 15 caps for Wales. Having worked developing youth talent for City since 2011, he was named manager of the club’s women’s team in May – his first head-coaching role.
From royal to sky & vice versa
In Roman numerals, Jill Scott has ’28 February 2008’ tattooed on her ankle to mark Everton’s FA Women's Premier League Cup final upset of Arsenal. She ended a seven-year spell at Everton to sign for City in 2013.
Alex Greenwood joined Everton as an eight-year-old and made her professional debut for them, while Lucy Bronze, Esme Morgan and Chloe Kelly, who moved to Manchester in July, are other City players who have had spells at Walton Hall Park.
Everton No8 Izzy Christiansen scored the goal that seized City their first piece of major silverware: the WSL Cup in 2014. Goalkeeper Sandy MacIver and defender Poppy Pattinson, for their part, came through the City Academy.
Road to Wembley
Everton 1-0 London Bees
Bristol City 0-5 Everton
Everton 2-1 Chelsea
Birmingham City 0-3 Everton
Manchester United 2-3 Manchester City
Manchester City 10-0 Ipswich Town
Leicester City 1-2 Manchester City
Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal
Everton are second in the Women’s Super League, on 13 points from a possible 15. City are fifth on eight points.
Players to watch
Everton pulled off a WSL-shaking coup by signing Valerie Gauvin, who scored the opening goals in the hosts’ 2-1 wins over Norway and Brazil at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, in August. The striker has made a superb start to life on Merseyside, linking up poetically with Izzy Christiansen, the former Lyon playmaker who has also dazzled since rejoining Everton. Hayley Raso and Claire Emslie, Australia and Scotland internationals, have also been central to Everton’s fine form.
From back to front, City boast players among the best on the planet in their own positions. Rose Lavelle, who commanded the 3-1 victory over Everton in the WSL Cup recently, is forcibly nudging Gareth Taylor to start in central midfield alongside fellow France 2019 winner Sam Mewis, whose magnificence is heightened by her danger from set-pieces. To their north Chloe Kelly has been on fire.
It took City forward Chloe Kelly merely 83 minutes to average a goal in October (four goals in four appearances).
What they say
"She is world class. She can achieve whatever she wants. She can be the WSL's top scorer in the future. She can be a World Cup winner with France in the future. She's a top, top player, and a really humble girl. She suits the English game really well. She's physical, a very strong, robust person and player who is fantastic in the air, has got a great touch, can play with her back to goal, and has got deceiving pace. She's quite a shy girl, but certainly not shy when it comes to scoring goals and putting her head in where it hurts, because she is phenomenal in the air and she will cause Man City a threat."
Willie Kirk on Valerie Gauvin to BBC Sport
"Playing at Wembley is a dream come true. It's unbelievable to play against Everton and I actually started the FA Cup campaign – the same campaign – with them. I remember sitting in a meeting and the first meeting was, 'We're going to get to Wembley', and I'm delighted that they have done.”
“Everyone in the club is really excited for this final, it's a great opportunity to increase the history of this club. The message I can say to them is, ‘Don't go to play the final, go to win the final.’”
“There are some pre-existing relations there – players who are here now having played for Everton, and vice versa. I think it will be a fairly level game. Hopefully we’ll be successful.”