Gameweek 5 of the WSL 1 season takes place this weekend as the ladies turn their attention back to league football after taking part in cup competitions over the past week. Both Chelsea Ladies and third-placed Reading Women have played two Continental Tyres Cup matches since their last league fixture while Chelsea also competed in a Champions League fixture this Wednesday.
Chelsea take the short trip to Adams Park on Sunday to play an in-form Reading Women team who haven’t lost since the opening day of the season. In their break from league football, Reading won both of their Continental Cup games; firstly, cruising to a 4-0 win over Watford Ladies and then overcoming a resilient Arsenal Women in which Fara Williams scored twice. The winner being an audacious lob from the centre circle straight from kick-off against her former club. Williams is Reading’s current top scorer with 5 goals in 6 games so far and the legendary striker will be hoping to continue her hot streak of goals as she has scored at least one in her last three games.
Chelsea come into this game in their own ominous form, being perfect domestically and only conceding once in any of those games with that goal conceded in their last Continental Cup game against Bristol City Women. Chelsea have also had a tough Champions League game to contend with in midweek but will have come out of it in even greater spirits having taken a big step towards qualifying for the quarterfinals. Chelsea won their home first leg tie against Swedish side Rosengard 3-0 and put themselves in a commanding position for the second leg in Sweden. Again, as in the last round, the European tie would have taken a lot out of the squad and Emma Hayes will have to refresh the starting line-up. Chelsea’s squad depth will be tested fully in what will be their biggest domestic test of the season at this stage.
Unfortunately for Reading, this week brought along some bad luck with the news that Reading midfielder Jade Moore has seriously damaged her ankle and will be out for four months. She had started the season in promising form, scoring two goals in the four starts she made and her absence will be a blow for the Reading team.
Reading have never beaten Chelsea in 5 previous meetings, their most recent match ended with Chelsea dishing out a 4-0 defeat in the Spring Series. Reading will be hoping to take advantage of a fatigued Chelsea side and finally beat Chelsea for the first ever time.