The Top Two Face Off in Title Decider

The biggest game in the WSL 1 calendar takes place this afternoon as the top two, Chelsea Ladies and Manchester City Women lock heads in a battle that will go some way in deciding who will win the WSL 1 title.

The whole landscape of the standings was changed in the midweek set of fixtures as Chelsea took top spot from City. This was because Manchester City finally lost their first game of the season to leave Chelsea as the only unbeaten team in the league.  City lost their record away to Birmingham City who beat them 2-0. It was an underwhelming performance from the Citizens who failed to create many chances from open play and were unfortunate in the fact that a lot of their key players had a bad night all at the same time. Chelsea will have to be mindful of the inevitable backlash from City as they look to reclaim the position that they have held for the majority of the season.

Chelsea were able to take advantage of City’s slip by winning a close fought match away from home at Yeovil Town Ladies. Emma Hayes made ten changes from the side that played last weekend with today’s game in mind and those changes affected the normal fluency of Chelsea’s play. It wasn’t until the second half when Hayes was forced to bring on top scorer Fran Kirby that Chelsea suddenly became a threat in the final third. Kirby made an immediate impact by breaking the deadlock before a late confirmation goal sealed the three points and first place for the Blues.

This match will see Hayes revert to her strongest line up, many of whom have had the week off after being left out of the squad on Wednesday night. That extra recuperation time for the Chelsea starting line-up could prove beneficial as City’s starting 11 were toiling for the whole 90 minutes trying to get back into their midweek game.

The earlier league meeting between the two teams was a tense 0-0 game in which chances were few and far between. They played each other in the Continental Cup semi-finals a couple of weeks before that and again, it was a close game but City were able to squeeze through with a 1-0 victory. The way events unfolded this midweek means the onus is really on the home team to come out all guns blazing to go for the win. City will know that if they want Chelsea to drop points, they will have to inflict the damage themselves as the rest of the league has yet to properly test Chelsea thus far and will unlikely be able to do so for the rest of the season.

With only 1 point separating the two teams and less than half of the league games remaining, this match will truly be pivotal in deciding the destination of the WSL 1 title. It will come down to who handles the pressure better.

Manchester City Player to Watch: Nikita Parris

Chelsea Player to Watch: Fran Kirby