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Hayes: I'm sure with the threats we've got, we will cause Arsenal problems.

By Football Reporter Emma Hayes believes Chelsea are hitting top form at the perfect time ahead of a Vitality Women’s FA Cup semi-final showdown against Arsenal at a sold-out Meadow Park. Sunday’s game will be Chelsea’s fourth encounter with Jonas Eidevall’s side this season, the last of which was a 0-0 draw at Kingsmeadow in February.

Just a point separates the two at the top of the Barclay’s FA Women’s Super League, while Chelsea beat Arsenal 3-0 in last season's delayed final last December.

And Hayes believes her side are ready to face another challenge against the Gunners. She said: “There's nothing better than competing for a place to play in an FA Cup final and certainly playing against Arsenal – we've had a lot of battles over the years. We certainly enjoy those games and are always looking forward to taking on another top team.

“I think Arsenal have had a tremendous season - they really have. We've been going neck and neck in every competition with them the whole way. “They're at home, sold out, so we're going to have to suffer at points in the game and I'm sure with the threats we've got, we will cause problems.

“But I think it's important for the team to remember that previous results are not indicative of future performance.”

Just before the international break, the Blues were on fantastic form, winning 5-0 against Reading to stay top of the Barclays FA WSL – with Arsenal just one point back. Arsenal were also 5-0 winners, against Leicester, as they looked to bounce back from European elimination.

But with a title to defend, Hayes is hoping that her players can step up and keep alive the chance of a domestic double. Hayes added: “You don't pick and choose which games you want to try and show up for – you have to do it for every game. While one is talked about as there's a higher pecking order, for us, it's just another game in the quest to try and win trophies.

“The players have really developed into being a top professional team that compete on all fronts every year. This is the place we want to be in - we want to be competing to make the FA Cup final again. We're holders and we want to hold onto that.

“You just have to get back in after the international break - that's always a challenge for every team, especially when you're full of internationals just like Arsenal and we are.

“We're well played in this year and I think we're hitting top form but this is a cup semi-final - this is two really good sides that have battled it out all year.” If successful on Sunday, Chelsea will face either West Ham or Manchester City for a chance to add to their accolade of achievements. To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com



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