Chelsea Ladies travel up north for their second league game, and first away game, of the season. They will play against Sunderland Ladies, who like Chelsea, have just moved in to a new home; Mariners Park. Sunderland will be hoping to open their new stadium in a similar fashion to how the Blues did last weekend with a convincing victory, however, they know it will be a tough ask.
Chelsea opened up their league campaign with a stunning 6-0 victory at home with five different goal scorers to put them at the top of WSL 1 at this early stage. In addition to this, the Blues won their final three games of the Spring Series meaning that Chelsea have won their last four games and are in ominous form. It will be a huge task for Sunderland Ladies to keep all of Chelsea’s attacking players at bay but they can take encouragement from the fact that they also started the season confidently with an impressive 1-0 away win at Reading Ladies in which the team defended extremely well.
The head to head between the teams doesn’t make for pleasant reading for Sunderland Ladies who have lost their last four matches against Chelsea with a goal difference of 18:1. The biggest win for Chelsea in this run of results came the last time these two teams met earlier this year in the Spring Series. Chelsea ran out 7-0 winners away from home with Erin Cuthbert and Fran Kirby both helping themselves to a couple of goals each. To find the last time Sunderland did beat Chelsea, we have to go back to 2015 where Sunderland dished out their own dominant display with a 4-0 victory.
Both teams come into the game with fully fit squads with Chelsea only missing long-term absentee Deanna Cooper. However, Emma Hayes will certainly have an eye on Chelsea’s upcoming Champions League Round of 32 1st leg game against Bayern Munich in midweek and so may decide to make a couple of changes to ensure the players are fresh for Wednesday’s important match.
For Sunderland Ladies to get anything out of this match, they will have to make sure they are even more resilient and clinical than they were last weekend against Reading. Sunderland finished the game with only 36% possession, while they only had 3 shots on goal compared to 7 for Reading Women. While this performance worked against Reading, it would be a surprise if the same display halted the Chelsea juggernaut.
Sunderland Player to Watch: Simona Koren
Chelsea Player to Watch: Gemma Davison