It’s another two scoops of Chelsea day on Saturday, and hopefully this one leaves a better taste than the Wednesday’s weird Champions League draws. Set your alarms a bit earlier as Chelsea FCW dive back into league play by hosting Reading. It will be the team’s third match of the week, which has already provided some extreme emotional swings.
It began with as dominant a performance as you’ll ever see in an FA Cup Final as Arsenal registered 0 shots on goal and Chelsea secured our fourth trophy for the 2020-21 season. A couple days later we were shut out at home by Juventus, only picking up one point in a 0-0 draw. The result is significant because it forces Chelsea to get a result next Thursday away against old foe Wolfsburg to advance to the knockout stages.
But before all of that, Reading. The league table strongly suggests Chelsea shouldn’t have too many problems with the Royals but, as stated above, it’s been a week of extreme highs as well as extreme frustrations — not to mention the physical toll of a third 90 minutes being required in six days.
Though Reading sit eighth, they’ve had a decent recent run. They defeated third place Brighton 2-0 and drew 2-2 with fifth place West Ham. This is a team capable of taking points off teams above them; Chelsea will have to set the tone early, or risk suffering another one of those matches (you know the ones).
Date / Time: Saturday, December 11, 2021, 11.30 GMT; 6:30am EST; 5:00pm IST
Venue: Kingsmeadow, London, UK
Forecast: Cloudy; 45°F/7°C
How to watch: Sky Sports (UK), NBCsports.com (US), Fox Sports 1 Brasil (Brazil), Sportsnet (Canada)
Chelsea team news: The good news is that, apart from fatigue, Chelsea are inching closer to full health. Pernille Harder and Aniek Nouwen got into matches this week, with the former grabbing her first start for Chelsea since October 13.
While Lauren James was not in the squad for Wednesday’s Champions League match, it doesn’t appear to be injury related as much as still working her way to her best and Hayes not needing to throw her on in a Champions League match. The same goes for Maren Mjelde, who is also building up strength after a lengthy recovery process.
Reading team news: Reading manager Kelly Chambers was named WSL Manager of the Month for November, as her team won two and drew one with seven total goals scored and just two conceded. Reading have also had since November 21st to get healthy and scheme for Chelsea.
Central to The Royals’ turnaround has been a good mix of veteran savvy, such as the goalscoring and positioning of Natasha Dowie, and the youthful exuberance of 22-year-old Deanne Rose and 19-year-old Emma Harries. The trio have combined for seven of Reading’s nine goals in the league. Midfielder Amalie Eikeland is also a player to watch, often pulling the strings to launch attacks.
Previously: The two sides met in the league on the final matchday of last season and Chelsea romped to a 5-0 win to secure the 2020-21 WSL title. Melanie Leupolz scored in the second minute, Fran Kirby added a brace, while Sam Kerr and Erin Cuthbert bagged a goal apiece.