Nearly a month has passed since the Blues stepped on the pitch to complete a two-leg drubbing of SL Benfica in the Champions League. And most recently, we have had a week of drama in the WSL surrounding disregarded COVID protocols that has led to multiple suspended matches.
Fortunately for the (well-behaved) Blues, their match against Reading goes on as planned. The Blues find themselves in third place in the table but with two matches in hand, fate remains in Chelsea’s hands. A win against Reading Women FC on Sunday would keep pressure firmly on Manchester United and Arsenal at the top of the table.
Date / Time: Sunday , January 10th, 2020, 2:00pm BST; 9:00am EST; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Cristiana Hattersley
Forecast: Cold, Overcast
On TV: BBC Red Button (UK); None (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC Sport Online (UK); NBC Sports Live (USA); The FA Player (countries without TV deals/listings)
Ready for Reading on Sunday. ♀️ pic.twitter.com/zKvHIjKkBB— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) January 8, 2021
Reading FCW team news: Reading’s first half of the season was a mixed bag, as their performances often outshone their current sixth place in the table. Still, Reading’s threat has been on display, particularly in a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.
Manager Kelly Chambers has spoken about her expectation that results will catch up to form. Reading play a high-tempo, high-pressing tactic so the Blues will need to be sharp on the ball and avoid silly giveaways.
Midfielder Fara Williams has been a thorn in Chelsea’s side in previous years and is Reading’s joint WSL goal leader with 2 scores. Fellow midfielder Jess Fishlock has been in good form and has a pair each of assists and goals. The Blues will want to avoid Williams and Fishlock finding early confidence, or it could be a difficult test.
They’ll also want to keep an eye on former Arsenal striker Danielle Carter as she continues to bed in to the team. Irish keeper Grace Maloney has played every minute of League action for Reading, where she has averaged conceding 1.5 goals per match.
Chelsea FCW team news: The Blues come into Sunday’s match rested and ready to go. With their midweek cup match against Manchester City postponed, rotation won’t be a factor in squad selection.
Emma Hayes has spoken openly of her respect for Reading and will be expected to play a full strength lineup. Fran Kirby has enjoyed success against Reading over the years and lately, has really begun to find on-field chemistry with Sam Kerr.
Pernille Harder was recently voted Denmark Player of the Year (again!); voted first by over 90% of Danish players. She will hope to make the startling lineup as part of a striking partnership with either Sam Kerr or Bethany England. Erin Cuthbert has had a strong season and her hard working style may be valuable against Reading’s intense style of play.
Chelsea made one recent signing, bringing in Swedish international goalkeeper Zecira Musovic from FC Rosengard. Musovic is likely a signing for the future and will be given time to acclimate herself to life in London.
Previously: Fran Kerr marked her first WSL appearance for Chelsea with an assist in the Blues 3-1 victory when last these sides met. The victory required Chelsea to come from behind after ceding an early lead. Fortunately, shortly after going in front, Reading found themselves down to ten and the Blues were able to comfortably reverse the deficit.