With the unveiling of the first Conti Cup matches, Chelsea Women now have their first PROPER home game firmly fixed, after the all-singing, all-dancing opening spectacular against Spurs at Stamford Bridge.
Kingsmeadow hosts the clash with West Ham on Sunday September 22 at 2pm… unfortunately making it all-but impossible for fans to catch both the men’s and women’s games, as Chelsea men take on Liverpool at the Bridge at 4.30pm.
Still, unless the women’s game is moved at the last minute to noon (perfectly possible under the FA’s rules, and the League Cup rules) like the fixtures at Durham and Liverpool, it promises to be a lively encounter.
Fans rudely say that West Ham Women is simply our feeder club and our retirement club, but with strong Chelsea connections it also gives the Irons a bit more in the way of insider knowledge about Chelsea’s tactics.
Supporters who watched the disappointing French pre-season games by Chelsea Women will have slightly more heartened by a 3-1 win in Israel in a friendly, with Sophie Ingle, Magda Eriksson and Beth England on the scoresheet.
Fitness levels are slowly returning to their superb peak at the end of last season, when every player seemed to have the staying power to compete in two back-to-back games, but it’s been a slow haul.
The biggest criticism of the team as a whole when they played, and lost, to both Montpellier and Bayern Munich, was the fitness levels. Everyone was half a yard short, everyone was flagging.
Encouragingly, new signing Guro Reiten scored on her Chelsea debut, with Maren Mjelde also finding the net as the Blues went down 5-2 to Montpellier.
In the other game in France, pre-season, the Blues were 3-0 down before the break against Bayern, one of the goals being an unfortunate own goal by defender Millie Bright. It ended 5-0, but the win in Tel-Aviv at the Ha-Moshava stadium in front of more than 8,000 has given the girls – and manager Emma Hayes – a positive spring in their step as training intensifies at Cobham ahead of the crucial league opener against Tottenham.