Chelsea Women at Manchester City, Conti Cup semifinal preview, predicted XI

Back to the cup competitions we go. A little more than two weeks after it fell short at Kingsmeadow vs. Manchester City, Chelsea Women travel north for a chance to punch a ticket to the Conti Cup final.

Manchester City v Chelsea FC  - Barclays Women´s Super League
Manchester City v Chelsea FC - Barclays Women´s Super League / Alex Livesey/GettyImages
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Gareth Taylor, Laia Aleixandri, Leila Ouahabi
Manchester City v Liverpool FC - Barclays Women's Super League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Using the momentum of Catarina Macario's debut over the weekend, the Blues aim to send the four-time Conti Cup champions packing. The Blues ran away from Sunderland in the quarterfinal while a long-distance cracker off the right boot of Yui Hasegawa was all that separated City and Tottenham in the previous round. Unlike the Blues, Taylor's team reached this point the hard way, through the group stages. The Citizens were one of four clubs that amassed 10 points over those four games that determined qualification into the quarters. Their only dropped points came against Chelsea's last WSL opponent, Leicester City via a penalty shootout.

On Monday, following that Everton triumph, the Manchester outfit rewarded Taylor for his tremendous work this season, extending him for another three years. Under his guidance, City has become far and away the most consistent defense in the top flight. He battled through a summer defined by high turnover in 2022, finding the right pieces to supplement the losses of multiple world-class talents. One of the additions being arguably the WSL's best defensive-minded midfielder Hasegawa.

The Japanese international was sensational in Febuaray in Kingston along with her midfield partner Jess Park who finished tied for the team lead in chances created. Taylor's midfield overran Chelsea's away from home this season, forcing the Blues to find another solution to break it down that did not include playing through the middle.

As the prior league fixture showed between these two, mistakes have a tendency to be punished against high-caliber opposition. Once an attacker drops in to receive a pass, someone has to funnel into that space left by the defender. That did not happen a few weeks ago at Kingsmeadow as MCFC's aggressive press forced CFCW into back passes and numerous mistakes. Khadija Shaw is the last player in England right now you want to present an opportunity to. The Jamaican has converted five chances in her last eight fixtures across all competitions.