Preview: Arsenal v United Women
Manchester United Women's campaign in the Continental Tyres League Cup revs up this Wednesday night with an enticing quarter-final tie - away to Arsenal.
Throw into the mix the occasional unpredictability of cup football and we have a recipe for a cracking match at Meadow Park, also the home of Boreham Wood FC. The action kicks off at 19:15 GMT and will be shown live on The FA Player.
United Women will still be without Lucy Staniforth, so head coach Marc Skinner will select from the same squad he had available for the Birmingham game. Sixteen players were involved in that impressive victory - the five substitutes who came on included Jackie Groenen, making her first appearance since October.
Meanwhile, Swiss midfielder Lia Walti remains on the sidelines for Arsenal but former United forward Tobin Heath could feature for Jonas Eidevall's side. The Gunners have made three signings in this January transfer window so far - Sweden striker Stina Blackstenius, Austria defender Laura Wienroither and Brazil centre-back Rafaelle Souza, although the latter's transfer is still to be fully completed.
While Arsenal joined fellow European qualifiers Chelsea in gaining a bye to this stage of the competition, United had to navigate a difficult group stage.
The Reds did just that by beating Everton 2-0 away and Manchester City 2-1 at home, as well as defeating Durham on penalties following a 2-2 draw in the North East. Only Leicester City got the better of Skinner's side, and that was only in a shoot-out after the teams shared four goals at Leigh Sports Village.
As we mentioned above, Arsenal and United have returned from the winter break with wildly contrasting results against Birmingham. The Gunners' shock 2-0 loss was actually their fourth defeat in the last five games, but two of those were in the Champions League - 4-1 to Hoffenheim and 4-0 to Barcelona - and they still qualified for the quarter-finals of that competition regardless.
Losing 3-0 to Chelsea in the delayed 2021 Women's FA Cup final at Wembley was undoubtedly a bigger blow for Eidevall's team, whose last victory was 4-0 at home to Leicester City on 12 December.
United have won the last four games in all competitions with 14 goals scored and none conceded. Before the back-to-back 5-0 home wins over Birmingham and their local rivals Aston Villa, and the afore-mentioned Conti Cup victory at Everton, there was another triumph on the road - 2-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Reds' last defeat in normal time was actually against Arsenal - the Gunners won 2-0 at Leigh Sports Village in late November.
All four Conti Cup quarter-finals are due to be played this Wednesday night as follows:
Manchester City v Bristol City (19:00 GMT)
Arsenal v UNITED (19:15 GMT)
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool (19:30 GMT)
West Ham United v Chelsea (19:30 GMT)
The draw for the semi-finals will take place on Thursday at 15:30 GMT.