Chelsea Women are limbering up for their big game at 2pm on Sunday – the sell-out, 5,000-ticket Kingsmeadow match against Manchester United.
With all the focus on women’s football, thanks to all the women’s weekend publicity, the first meeting between the female counterparts of the twin men’s footballing giants promises a lot, with Chelsea battling to retain top spot in the table.
The omens are promising for Emma Hayes’ army. Against sides they are facing in the WSL for the very first time, Chelsea have won each of their last five contests by an aggregate score of 14-0.
But if Hayes is wary of anything, it’s complacency, and she has been drilling her troops harder than ever before to ensure there’s a good showing with the spotlight so firmly trained on the women’s game.
Manchester United are on a good run of form. They have now won each of their last three Barclays FA Women’s Super League matches without conceding a goal.
Just to illustrate what an achievement that is, the only newly-promoted side to win four straight matches in the competition are Sunderland, who did so between May and July 2015.
The one to watch? Manchester United’s Lauren James, who has completed more dribbles than any other player so far this season in the WSL, with 70% of her 23 excursions successfully executed.
Chelsea currently sit top of the table with 13 points from their five matches so far (the record reads: W4 D1). It’s the Blues’ joint-best return at this stage, alongside 13 points in 2017-18 and 2015 – the last two campaigns in which they went on to win the title.
No two players in the WSL so far this season have combined to create more chances for each other than Chelsea duo Beth England and Guro Reiten, with seven.
Beth did well in her match up front for the Lionesses, never giving up, chasing down every ball, harrassing the goalie and making the most of space wherever she could. She was rewarded with an excellent goal at national level, boosting her confidence.
With the recent signing of Sam Kerr (who will lead the front line for Chelsea in January), competition up front has never been tighter as the Blues press for the domestic treble.