Chelsea Look to Put Title Charge Back on Track Against London Rivals
Coming off the euphoria of making history in midweek, Chelsea Ladies turn their attention back to WSL 1 affairs and the challenge of London rivals Arsenal. Having lost the initiative in the title race last weekend Chelsea will know that any more slip-ups could see them having to concede defeat to Manchester City for the title.
Chelsea beat Montpellier 3 – 1 (5-2 agg) in the Champions League on Wednesday night and made history by sealing their place in the semi finals of the European competition for the first time ever. Emma Hayes and her squad put a lot of effort into getting to the semis and will have to find the determination again to get themselves up for this league game. The distraction of Europe is what affected them last weekend as they went 2 nil down before waking up and battling back to gain a point against Reading. Unfortunately for them, that means title rivals Manchester City are two points behind with a game in hand.
Beating Arsenal will be a tough ask for the Blues with the Gunners coming into this match in scintillating form. Arsenal have won their last seven matches in a row scoring 14 goals in the process. Included in that run was a cup victory. A first half Vivianne Miedema goal meant that Arsenal defeated Manchester City in the Continental Cup final to win the first silverware of the season. Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro joined Arsenal in November and has turned the side into a formidable team. They have only lost once since he’s been in charge; in fact, that loss came in the return fixture between these two sides earlier in the season as Chelsea edged the match 3-2.
Although the draw last weekend was disappointing for Chelsea, they do remain unbeaten in the league with eight wins and four draws to leave them as leaders of the WSL table with 28 points. They will have to be weary of the Arsenal side however who have the incentive to drag themselves into the title race out of nowhere. If they manage to beat Chelsea, they will be five points behind the leaders with another two games in hand.
The matches between these two London sides always remains intriguing especially because both squads interlink. Emma Hayes used to manage Arsenal, while Chelsea’s captain and vice captain as well as a couple of other squad players also once wore the red and white jersey in the past. Chelsea will be hoping that inside knowledge will help them get past tough opposition.
Chelsea Player to Watch: Ramona Bachmann
Arsenal Player to Watch: Leah Williamson