Chelsea Women are late joiners to the Women’s League Cup, as they were exempt from the league stage thanks to their participation in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Jumping into the competition in its quarterfinal round, there’s a shortened path to a fifth final appearance and perhaps a third competition trophy at the end of it all, with Sunderland as our first opponents in this potential championship road.
Date / Time: Wednesday, February 7, 19.00 GMT; 2pm EST; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Kingston upon Thames, UK
Referee: Phoebe Cross
Forecast: Light cloud and light winds
Chelsea team news: With their 3-0 Women’s Super League win against Everton at home last weekend, the Blues have extended their ongoing winning streak since December last year to eight matches. With their two upcoming opponents being Women’s Championship outfits, there’s a good chance we extend this run to 10 games before facing Manchester City, in what’s looking like the WSL’s title-deciding match.
It won’t be surprising if manager Emma Hayes decides to rotate her squad a bit, given this schedule of two cup matches and the City encounter across nine days. She won’t be able to call upon the services of Ann-Katrin Berger, Millie Bright, Aniek Nouwen, Catarina Macario, and Sam Kerr. Meanwhile Katerina Svitkova is no longer with the club for at least the remainder of the season as she’s been loaned to Slavia Praha in her home country, Czech Republic.
Sunderland team news: The Lasses currently sit two points away from promotion in the Women’s Championship, with 28 points from 15 matches. They did advance to the League Cup quarterfinal on a technicality, as they were awarded a last-round win via independent tribunal against Aston Villa due to the Villans using an ineligible cup-tied player. Otherwise, they would’ve had a 7-0 loss in their records and crash out of the cup.
With a clean medical department slate, the only issue for manager Mel Reay to solve is who fills in for left-back Louise Griffiths who’s suspended after being red-carded in a 1-0 Championship loss to Reading last weekend.
View from the enemy: Roker Report
Previously: Back in May 2018 when the two clubs were still called the “Ladies”, Chelsea beat Sunderland 2-1 with goals from Fran Kirby and Eni Aluko to get us one match closer to the WSL title that season.