Man United oust Chelsea in FA Cup; Russo key for Arsenal

This week there were some routine wins for the domestic title favourites across Europe (Lyon 6-1 Saint Etienne, Bayern Munich 5-1 Duisburg, Barcelona 5-1 Villarreal) and the English FA Cup final is now set. Here are the key talking points around the women's game.

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Hayes' farewell tour getting shorter

Off the back of their Conti Cup final loss to Arsenal earlier this month, many expected a fightback from Chelsea in their FA Cup semifinal against Manchester United. Indeed, the Blues, who have won the past three FA Cup trophies, were hoping to extend a 1,295-day unbeaten streak in the competition. Yet thanks to two swift headers from Lucía García and Rachel Williams, and some steely defending from United, they were dumped out after a 2-1 defeat.

Previously, outgoing Chelsea manager Emma Hayes might have been more bullish in her postmatch news conference. But on Sunday she sighed: "No-one died; we lost a football match."

Maybe it's a sign of her own fatigue with the endless pile up of games and "grind" she talked about in the latter half of last season, but it could also be an indication of knowing her days in London are drawing to a close as she prepares to take over the USWNT this summer.

Hayes will always have the will to win, but her legacy won't be defined by trophies won this campaign. She has had incredible success at the club but, with each passing game, it looks like fatigue is setting in. Wednesday's Women's Super League (WSL) game against Aston Villa could prove pivotal to her hopes of ending the season on a high before they travel to Barcelona for the Champions League semifinal first leg on Saturday. -- Sophie Lawson

Spurs make history to seal Wembley spot

History was set to be made either way, with both FA Cup semifinalists Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City yet to reach a final, but it was Robert Vilahamn's team that held their nerve to win 2-1 in extra time to seal their inaugural appearance at Wembley.

It was a nervy game for Tottenham and they needed to come from behind after Leicester's Jutta Rantala struck early from long range, as Jessica Naz equalised in the 83rd minute to send the tie to extra time. While Tottenham's effort and attack dwindled as the afternoon continued, they did enough as Martha Thomas' 118th-minute header sealed their ticket to Wembley.

It is not all smiles for Grace Clinton, however. On loan from Manchester United to Spurs, the pivotal midfielder, who has been integral to much of Tottenham's success this term, will be ineligible to face her parent club in the final next month. -- Emily Keogh

Russo positioning could be key for Arsenal

When Alessia Russo made the high-profile move to Arsenal from Man United in the summer, she was hailed as the club's next star No. 9 striker. Yet, playing in midfield against Bristol City for the only WSL game of the round, she was the linchpin to a fluid and controlled performance that saw her score twice alongside Beth Mead to crush the Robins 5-0.

Arsenal fans had been calling for Russo to play slightly deeper behind Stina Blackstenius after the pair sparked a comeback against Aston Villa and combined to seal victory in the Conti Cup final over Chelsea last month. And, once again, it proved to be a genius move as bottom-side Bristol City could not handle the pair, who created chances throughout.

With Russo and Blackstenius' instinctive goal-scoring nature in the box, Arsenal looked far more effective up front and it could be this link-up that determines the club's success both in the league and Europe next season. -- EK

Real Betis claim vital win

Up, down, down, up, and down again -- there is no denying that Real Betis are a team that struggle for consistency and form in Spain's Liga F. Now on their fifth manager in six seasons, having brought Maria Pry -- who presided over their best spell of growth and league success -- back for a second spell, the Béticasare are still grasping for form and sit just one point away from relegation.

In need of a reset, Betis did at least pick up a much-needed 2-1 win over the weekend as they came from behind against Levante Las Planas, who themselves have extended their winless streak to 16 games (dating back to November) and are now just one point better off than Betis. -- SL

Bordeaux's fall confirmed

With relegation all but confirmed following Guingamp's hard-fought point against PSG on Saturday, Bordeaux were officially downed after a disappointing 3-0 loss to Fleury on Sunday.

There can be no hiding from the financial impact of the men's team playing in Ligue 2, and how the women's side have been left out in the cold this season as a result. But just a few years ago, they looked set to stake a claim as France's "third team" (behind Lyon and PSG) and had players like Bunny Shaw and Katja Snoeijs on the books. So it's incredible just how far and fast Bordeaux have fallen.

It serves as a timely reminder that even though the women's game is reaching new heights and success, there is always peril in aligning the fortunes of a women's team to that of their male counterparts -- as history has shown when things get tight, the budget for the women's team is usually the first thing to be scrapped. -- SL

Sevenius helps Como

Fresh off her match-winning goal for Finland against Italy, 19-year-old Oona Sevenius' brace against Pomigliano helped put further distance between Como and the bottom two [Pomigliano and Napoli] in the relegation table, all but confirming the fate of the basement dwellers in Serie A.

Coming into a rich vein of form, the Milan loanee has seemingly staked a claim for a run in the Milan team next season when she returns, as the Rossonere look for more stability after a forgettable season. -- SL

Schröder stars in Sweden

The new Swedish Damallsvenskan season kicked off over the weekend, with last year's runners up, Häcken, looking for a strong start to banish the demons of missing out on the title on goal difference. Yet, the Champions League quarterfinalists were given a rough ride by Norrköping -- now in their second season in the top flight -- and had to rely on young Felicia Schröder to inspire a 4-3 win on her 17th birthday.

Schröder opened the scoring with a low drive from outside the box, then added a second, but Norrköping struck back to take a 3-2 lead. With minutes remaining, Clarissa Larisey needed a late equaliser before Schröder completed her hat trick in the 96th minute to win the game.

All three goals showcased the teenager's deft touch, quick turn of pace and balance on the ball. And, after one match, Schröder has already matched her tally from last season. With question marks around the future of highly rated teammate Rosa Kafaji, Häcken have again shown they can nurture young Swedish talent and shouldn't be wanting for goals this season. -- SL