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 of last term’s competition.

Holders Man City eased past Championship club Sheffield United with a 4-0 win, while Chelsea overcame second-tier leaders Aston Villa 3-1.

Man Utd held off Brighton in a 2-1 win, while Kim Little scored late for 2019 finalists Arsenal to beat Reading 1-0.

Germany’s Pauline Bremer netted a hat-trick for City, who won last year’s final against the Gunners at Bramall Lane on penalties.

This term’s last-four fixtures are scheduled for 29-30 January, but a date for the semi-final draw is yet to be revealed.

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 locked out 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 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 Man Utd 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 and Emily Murphy’s first Chelsea goal made their win safe either side of Villa substitute Kerri Welsh pulling one back with her first touch after coming on.

Despite their cup exit on Wednesday, in the league the West Midlands club have a six-point lead at the top of the Championship table and are on course for promotion to the WSL.

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