The good news is that the postponement of last week’s match with Everton should benefit the overall fitness of the club, the bad news is that the Blues haven’t played a match in two weeks, just as they’d discovered their scoring form. Manchester City, this week’s visitor to Kingsmeadow, has lost only once, and has a better goal differential than Chelsea (Arsenal, thanks to Vivianne Miedema’s 11-1 dismantling of Birmingham City, have the best). The more concerning piece is in Manchester City’s ‘goals allowed’ column — it’s 1. Not a typo, you read that right. One goal. One. It’s December.
However there is a bit of hope to be had in that they conceded that goal to Arsenal and the aforementioned Miedema, a combination Chelsea beat in dramatic fashion in October (Maria Thorisdottir’s 85th-minute first-time curler was a beauty that deserved the three points).
The best news then is that City — like most great defensive teams — are vulnerable to a quality forward. Even though Sam Kerr isn’t allowed to suit up just yet, Bethany England has been on a tear. In fact, before Miedema went nuclear on Birmingham, she was tied with England as the top scorer in the league (and thanks to last week’s postponed match against Everton, the Arsenal striker has played one more game).
League matches don’t get much more tense than this. Chelsea have another opportunity to add to a points lead on a title rival, and they will be more than motivated to drag us down the table into striking distance. Buckle up.
Date / Time: Sunday, December 1, 2019; 12:00pm GMT; 7:00am EST; 5:30pm IST
Forecast: Partly Cloudy, 51°F/11°C
How to watch: The FA Player is the only thing you need to watch every WSL match for free — yes, FREE — barring any applicable local broadcast rights. Did I mention is free? Sign up on the FA Player website, bookmark the site, save Chelsea Women FC’s fixture schedule, and keep checking WAGNH.
Chelsea team news: Match sharpness — if you believe in such a thing — could be a question since last week’s clash with Everton was cancelled due to a frozen pitch. Against a team as stubborn as City, that in-match and on-the-fly understanding required to break down a solid defense could be rusty. However, Chelsea certainly have several players who can do individual spectacular things to fashion a goal — and they might need that.
Also, there’s still no real update on Fran Kirby. But if there ever was a time to make a dramatic comeback, it’d be now. Either way, due to ankle surgery, the hero of our last match against a title rival, Maria Thorisdottir, won’t be available. Her rehab is going well, but she’s still some time away from featuring in a match.
Manchester City team news: Manchester City’s 20-year-old goalkeeper, Ellie Roebuck, is already a genuine star at the position. She made her league debut in February of 2018 against Chelsea when then first-choice keeper Karen Bardsley was injured after three minutes. This year Roebuck has started all eight league matches and has seven clean sheets.
City also feature England’s World Cup star Ellen White — who equaled Megan Rapinoe’s and Alex Morgan’s mark of six goals in the tournament — and Canadian talent Janine Beckie.
Previously: Our last league clash with City ended 2-2, with Ji So-yun scoring two second-half goals to counter their two first-half strikes. The less said about our FA WSL Cup semi-final bouts the better (City dominated kept us scoreless over two legs with an aggregate score of 3-0).
Sauce Moment of the Week: Since our last scheduled match was cancelled I’m going to the throwback files, and wishing it to be a dusting of foreshadowing. The field-level tracking shot of this goal is awesome, and it’s Fran Kirby (To: Football Gods; Subject: hint hint, nudge nudge) sprinting onto a long ball, executing a filthy cutback and slotting home near post.