Pauline Bremer’s hat-trick took her goals tally to 19 for the season for club and country

Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United reached the Women’s Continental League Cup semi-finals with wins in Wednesday’s last-eight ties.

The same four clubs also reached the semi-finals last season.

Manchester City won 4-0 at Championship club Sheffield United with a Pauline Bremer hat-trick, while Chelsea beat second-tier leaders Aston Villa 3-1.

Manchester United defeated Brighton 2-1, while Kim Little scored late as 2019 finalists Arsenal beat Reading 1-0.

The semi-finals are scheduled for 29-30 January, with a date for the draw to be confirmed.

This year’s final will be held at an as yet unspecified neutral venue on Saturday, 29 February, subject to broadcast schedules.

Three-time winners City and five-time winners Arsenal are the only two teams to have won the cup since its inception in 2011. The two teams have faced each other in the past two finals.

Bremer stars again for Man City

The Gunners were made to work hard for their win over a battling Reading side but the hosts’ dominance eventually told when Scotland’s Little marked her 200th appearance for Arsenal with the winning strike five minutes from time.

England midfielder Jordan Nobbs – who was also making her 200th Gunners appearance – had earlier played through top scorer Vivianne Miedema, but the Netherlands striker clipped her effort over.

There was no such late drama for City, whose in-form striker Bremer continued her fine form by making it 10 goals in five matches in all competitions.

The 23-year-old Germany international had the holders 2-0 up on the Blades before half-time, after which midfielder Laura Coombs stretched their lead before Bremer completed her treble late on.

Elsewhere, Abbie McManus and Jane Ross slotted Manchester United into a two-goal lead over Brighton, before Hope Powell’s side ensured a nervy finish when Kayleigh Green netted from the spot on 82 minutes.

Chelsea had total control of their tie against Villa but had to wait until Magdalena Eriksson’s 55th-minute header to break the deadlock.

South Korea playmaker Ji So-yun’s cool finish made it two, and although Villa substitute Kerri Welsh pulled one back with her first touch after coming on, Emily Murphy’s first Chelsea goal made the game safe.

Despite their cup exit on Wednesday, Villa have a six-point lead at the top of the Championship and are on course for promotion to the WSL.

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