The Women’s Super League 1 officially returns this weekend as women up and down the country kick off their league campaigns. Chelsea Ladies will host newly promoted Bristol City Women on Sunday afternoon at their new stadium in Kingsmeadow hoping to get off to a good start and signal their intent to fight for the title.
Preparations for this season have been very positive for the Blues; Winning the Spring Series while scoring 10 more goals than anyone else in the division has highlighted just how potent Chelsea’s attacking options currently are and with Eni Aluko, Fran Kirby and Ji So Yun all fully fit, you can expect at least one of them to get on the scoresheet this weekend.
Bristol City finished the Spring Series in 8th place and have spent the summer strengthening their squad for a top division campaign. Julie Biesmans and Lorca Van De Putte, signed from Standard Liege and Kristianstads DFF respectively are both full Belgian internationals and will look to bring their experience to the Bristol City squad. They also had a promising pre-season win over Liverpool Ladies which will fill them with the confidence to go into this game with no fear.
Chelsea Ladies only have one long term absentee who won’t be available for the game on Sunday; centre back Deanna Cooper suffered a knee injury that will keep her out of action for a while. However, new signing Maria Thorisdottir will slot in to replace her comfortably. Apart from that, we can expect Emma Hayes to have her team line up in her favoured 3-4-2-1 formation, with Hedvig Lindahl returning in goal after a long time out herself. Bristol City Women have a fully fit squad to choose from on the opening day and manager Willie Kirk will be looking forward to pit his wits against one of the best managers in the league.
City’s head to head record with Chelsea is heavily favoured in the Blues direction, with Chelsea having won the last five games against Bristol. This includes a 7-1 win in a friendly last year as well as the 4-0 win in the Spring Series where Fran Kirby managed to grab a brace.
A strong start at home this season from The Blues will be vital and so they will be expecting to get the win against the newly promoted outfit.