Chelsea Women at Manchester United: FA Cup preview, predicted XI

We've entered the biggest stretch of the campaign, the time of the season when Chelsea Women have consistently shown why it's the most elite club in England. It begins in Manchester on Sunday afternoon in the FA Cup.
Chelsea FC  v Manchester United - Barclays Womens Super League
Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Barclays Womens Super League / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages
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Erin Cuthbert
Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup Final / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages

This will be the first of two encounters left this year in Manchester. The other is in the final match week of the WSL season on May 18.

Hayes' Blues have owned the Reds of Manchester, outscoring the side 8-2 across the last four encounters. "Stamford Bridge Lauren James" became United's kryptonite in January as she converted a memorable hat-trick against her former club. You can see it in her eyes every time she has suited up to compete side by side with an outfit she used to play for. James brings out her best, embracing the boos from fans who can now only dream she donned red rather than blue.

The last time Chelsea traveled up to Leigh Sports Village, James netted a crucial second-half goal just four minutes after Sam Kerr found the breakthrough. United could be in for a long afternoon if the English attacker has her hair down again on Sunday. Skinner is also going to have to address the double pivot of Erin Cuthbert and Melanie Leupolz who were class on both sides of the ball in the SW6 in January. The Wee Scot was a disruptor extraordinaire, winning 16 duels over those 90 minutes, seven more than any other player that afternoon. Don't get me wrong, the Red Devils are more than capable of causing problems.

Ella Toone is the metronome in the middle that dictates the play with her distribution. Defensively, Katie Zelem is a force, serving as that physical balling-winning midfielder within Skinner's double pivot. Out wide, CFC's fullbacks are going to have their hands full with two dynamic threats in Geyse, and the Spaniard Lucía García. Neither though made much of an imprint in the fixture at Stamford Bridge a few months ago.