Here is the draw and my predictions. It looks like every player has managed to get home safely and not injured from the Algarve and Cyprus Cup. England players boosted by their tournament win in Cyprus.
Sunderland v Manchester City :
Mick Mulhern and his girls are unbeaten in the League and still on course for a treble as they are also in the Women Premier League Cup semi-final. Sunderland favorite to win at home.
Aston Villa v Liverpool : 5% upset probability
Liverpool new look team is favorite of course but as it is their first competitive game together, there might be a hiccup. Villa has a few England youth players and a former Liverpool player in Chloe Jones, so they will have inside information. Liverpool to win easily as I have seen Villa vs Watford and they were poor. Hopefully a it was one-off for them.
Doncaster Rovers Belles v Bristol Academy
2 WSL sides, Bristol favorite for me, they have quality forwards Del Rio, Natalia, Watts, Harding that will score goals against a Doncaster side that need to add more experience to the young squad.
Cardiff City v Birmingham City 10% upset probability
Not an easy game for the holders, although Cardiff are 8th in the National Division, they have a lot of Welsh international players Senior and youth. Birmingham also lost in R5 two seasons ago.
Nottingham Forest v Arsenal 5% upset probability
Arsenal currently preparing for the Champions League that will happen 3 days after that game, so will need to be sharp. It will be Shelley Kerr’s first official game at Arsenal. Arsenal to win with a good margin. Forest will surely try to impose their physical strength against all the players coming back from internationals and also preparing for the champions league.
Oxford United v Everton 10% upset probability
Can Oxford do it again ? They managed to beat Newcastle a side that plays 1 division above them. Can they beat a side that plays 3 divisions above them ? I certainly think they can, if they do not concede early. Everton are not as strong as they used to be with Williams, Dowie, Bronze and Harries gone. Remaining top players like Duggan and Jill Scott will carry the team this year. In the goalkeeper battle, I expect Hannah Cox to have the upper hand on Rachel Finnis. Oxford to win and create one of the biggest FA Women’s Cup upset.
Lincoln Ladies v Chelsea
2 WSL side. A very difficult game to call that could go all the way to penalties. Lincoln have kept the whole squad bar Staniforth and will be ready with the addition of Bardsley while Chelsea will have integrated 6 new players and might not have gelled up on the pitch yet. Lincoln slight favorite as they are at home but Chelsea did look good in a recent friendly so could win it away. One important factor on the day is Lincoln will be short in full backs with Walton suspended due to a red card on last League game last season. Barker and Sargeant are currently injured as well.
Leeds United v Yeovil Town 5% upset probability
Yeovil upset Portsmouth in the previous round and will have a long trek to Yorkshire. Leeds are very solid in the National Division and in the cups. The home side should prevail but it might be a tight game. Leeds to win at home.