Now the Winter break and festive period is over, WSL 1 recommences and Chelsea face a tough test as they defend their unbeaten league record at home versus Arsenal. It is 2nd place against 3rd place and Chelsea know they will have to pull out another solid performance to start 2018 in a positive way.

New Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro and the Arsenal team are currently experiencing the ‘new manager bounce’ having won 3 of 3 since the Australian took charge in early November. He has been trying to install a more fluid style of play with an extra emphasis on overloading the opposition in threatening areas on the pitch and so far the Arsenal players have adapted to it well.

Arsenal’s previous manager left his role after the Continental Cup group stage defeat to Reading Women, surprisingly that was only Arsenal’s 2nd defeat of the whole season having lost to Manchester City in WSL 1 earlier in the season. In their last three games since then, Arsenal have scored 12 goals and conceded only once. The biggest win in this sequence was the 6-0 victory away at Watford.

Chelsea are nearly perfect in the league having drawn one and won four of their five games so far. Before Christmas, Chelsea played in the quarter finals of the Continental Tyres Cup and comfortably dealt with a tough test against Liverpool. Fran Kirby continued her fine form and got herself a hattrick as Chelsea again won at home with a 5-1 victory.

Arsenal will be a difficult test for Chelsea as they are an exception in being one of the few teams that have a good recent record against the Blues. The last time they played was in the Spring Series, that was an enthralling game that finished 2-2 with both teams scoring in stoppage time; Drew Spence getting a goal in the 91st minute only for Arsenal’s Jordan Knobbs to equalise in the 6th minute of stoppage time. The 2016 meeting between the two sides was in the FA Cup final where Arsenal came out on top and won the trophy, winning 1-0 with a wonderful strike from Danielle Carter.

Chelsea Player to Watch: Fran Kirby

Arsenal Player to Watch: Beth Mead