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FA Cup finals mens and womens players to watch

Who will light up Wembley?

Who will light up Wembley?

With an unprecedented FA Cup final double-header taking place at Wembley this weekend, we pick the players who could light up the occasion

By Chris Miller, Writer

For the first time ever, this year the men’s and women’s FA Cup finals are taking place on the same weekend at Wembley Stadium. The men’s final takes place on Saturday afternoon (with the FA also marking 150 years since the very first final), while the women face off on Sunday. This may not be great news for those who have to clean up the stadium overnight but it’s brilliant for the rest of us – one weekend, two superb football matches, and all on free-to-air TV!


Chelsea will feature in both games: their men’s team take on Liverpool on Saturday 14 May in a repeat of the 2012 final (and the Carabao Cup final earlier this season); and their women’s team will play against Manchester City on Sunday 15 May, the first time the two have met in the Women’s FA Cup final. All four teams include some of the best footballers in the world so there’s no doubt viewers are in for a treat!


Here we pick some of the players we expect to illuminate this superb weekend of top-class cup football.  


There’s been a strange malaise around Chelsea in the latter part of this season – but their supporters will be reassured to think that, whatever their on-field or off-field problems, they’ve got Mason Mount. Young, intelligent and technically gifted, he’s just the sort of player fans love, and he’s having his best goalscoring season ever.


Whether ghosting into the area to score or providing a killer pass for a striker (as he did for Kai Havertz’s winning goal in last year’s Champions League final), Mount always delivers at a crucial time. And even when he’s not playing, he provides excellent entertainment.


Man City winger Lauren Hemp has a tricky history with FA Cup finals. In 2019, at the end of her first season at City, she was left on the bench for the final and only played the final 10 minutes of a 3-0 victory over West Ham (scoring the third goal). City reached the final the following year too but it was rescheduled from May to November, and Hemp suffered a hamstring injury in September that kept her out of the match.


Now fit, in form (with two goals in the semi-final) and firmly established in City’s first-choice front line, the England international will be keen to make this opportunity count. With her speed and guile, it’ll be a tough afternoon for the Chelsea defence.


After changing the game as a half-time substitute and powering Liverpool to victory in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final, Luis Díaz has proved he can have an impact no matter when he actually arrives on the pitch – although surely, in this form, he deserves a place in the starting XI. The fleet-footed Colombian has added another dimension to the Reds’ attack since signing in January, and Wembley’s wide open spaces seem tailor-made for Díaz to run his opposing full-back ragged.


Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby ran riot in last season’s final, tormenting the Arsenal defence and scoring all three goals as Chelsea completed the domestic treble. Kirby is unavailable this time, but you sometimes feel Kerr could score goals even if the rest of her team were running around in London Marathon-style fancy dress.


The Australian striker has been bagging almost a goal a game for the past two WSL seasons, she’s got 10 in six international matches in 2022, and she’s just been named FWA Footballer of the Year. This is a player for the big stage… say, a cup final at Wembley in front of millions of viewers?


When Trent Alexander-Arnold first became a fixture at right-back for Liverpool, some pundits claimed that his classy passing made him better suited to a midfield role. It’s since become clear that a right-back in a Jürgen Klopp team is not a traditional right-back.


Alexander-Arnold is the major creative force in this side, dominating the Premier League assist stats with an astonishing 44 in the past four seasons (only Kevin de Bruyne comes close). Klopp’s Liverpool rarely sit back, especially in a final, and we’ve no doubt the Reds’ no. 66 will keep surging forward to provide chances for the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mané to gobble up.


Khadija Shaw came to City last summer with a big reputation: she’s Jamaica’s all-time leading scorer – men’s or women’s – and had 34 goals in 39 games over her two seasons with Bordeaux. Unfortunately injuries have restricted her opportunities to show fans what she can do, but four goals in City’s recent WSL fixture against Brighton showed Shaw’s eye for goal is as sharp as ever. And as incentives go, a major trophy in her first season in England will be a terrific carrot for the striker known as “Bunny”.


Christian Pulisic would probably prefer to play from the start more often, but there’s no doubt his energy and pace – plus his ability to play in any position across Chelsea’s front line – make the US international a perfect impact substitute. He also has the knack of scoring important goals, including a late winner against West Ham last month (as a sub) and a crucial equaliser against Liverpool in the Premier League in January. All of which means we wouldn’t be surprised if Pulisic is the player everyone’s talking about at the end of Saturday's game…


Five English league titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup, as well as four medals in Scottish football and 48 international caps… that would be a decent haul from a fairly long career. Erin Cuthbert is just 23. Although injuries have kept her out for a chunk of this season, and she occasionally had to play out of position at wing-back, she was back in the midfield and hugely influential as Chelsea reached this final with a 2-0 win over Arsenal.


With lots of attention on overseas stars such as Kerr and Pernille Harder, Cuthbert is something of an unsung hero at Chelsea. The Scot could find herself well and truly sung if she steps up against Man City.


When are the men’s and women’s FA Cup finals on TV?

FA Cup: Road To Wembley

Saturday 14 May, 3.15pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)


Men’s FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Liverpool

Saturday 14 May, 3.45pm, ITV/HD (CH 103/113) + 4pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)


Women’s FA Cup Final: Chelsea v Manchester City

Sunday 15 May, 1.50pm, BBC One HD (CH 101)


Both games will be available in Apps & Games > BBC iPlayer and the men’s FA Cup final will be available in Apps & Games > ITV Hub.

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