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Women's Football News
The biggest game in the women's football calendar is set for Bank Holiday Monday as Arsenal take on Sunderland in the F.A.Women's Cup Final at Pride Park, home of Derby County F.C.
The match marks a huge contrast between the two sides as Arsenal, the aristocrats of the women's game, are attempting to lift the trophy for the fourth year in succession whilst Sunderland are the first team from outside the top flight to reach the Final since Fulham's fully professional side did so in 2002.
Despite the recent loss of three of their star players to the United States, Arsenal are still well in the running for a domestic 'treble' having already landed the Premier League Cup and are locked in a two-way battle for the Premier League Championship with Everton. Sunderland themselves are aiming to claim the Northern Division title and will no doubt be drawing inspiration from their men's famous success in 1973 when they defeated Leeds Utd in the F.A.Cup Final, causing one of the greatest shocks ever in the history of that tournament.
Arsenal goalkeeper Emma Byrne and Sunderland captain Stephanie Bannon recently posed for publicity photos to preview the Final which kicks off at Pride Park at 1pm and will also be televised live by ITV. A crowd of around 25,000 is anticipated on the day and the FA are hoping to beat last year's record crowd of 24,582 at the City Ground, Nottingham.
Sunderland striker Natalie Gutteridge, who has had a fine season for her club and formed a formidable partnership with Sophie Williams, is fully aware of the task that awaits her side but reveals that they will approach the match with confidence. "The F.A.Women's Cup Final is the biggest game in Sunderland Women's history and a fantastic achievement for the club," she says. "All of the girls are really looking forward to this massive occasion.
"We will go into the game as big underdogs against one of the best teams in Europe; therefore there is little pressure on us, but are well aware of the quality that Arsenal possess, so we all need to give 110%!
"People wrote us off in previous rounds against top flight sides, Bristol Academy and Chelsea, so hopefully we can prove the doubters wrong again!"
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