Godzilla vs. Mothra.
Tupac vs. Biggie.
Your Big Toe vs. A Leg of Furniture.
Nicolas Cage vs. Sane Decisions.
Under even tepid circumstances, all still pale in comparison to Arsenal Women FC versus Chelsea FC Women. But when Arsenal’s only loss is to a Chelsea who have yet to lose but because of two draws need to beat Arsenal again? The match is much too titanic for a stage such as Earth, it deserves an audience of galaxies.
It is truly, very deeply annoying that Chelsea must beat last year’s champions — again! — to ensure a real title race, but that’s what’s required when you draw two matches against Brighton and Liverpool. A draw is no good: it would be essentially a win for them. We could draw level on points by winning our game in hand, but are unlikely to make up seven-goal gap in goal differential.
Already against Chelsea is that Fran Kirby, whose start against Arsenal in our first meeting was one of her only two of the season, will remain out as she continues to recover from a nasty virus. Kirby provided the assist for the equalizer in that match, and is an all-around impossible player to cope with due to her dribbling, creativity, goalscoring ability, and pace.
It is a bit of a villain’s twirl of the mustache then that though Fran Kirby will be out, Chelsea will show up instead with Sam Kerr. The new arrival has also yet to score in the league. To avoid any jinxes or taunting of the football gods I am going to stop typing now.
Date / Time: Sunday, January 19, 2020; 2:00pm GMT; 9:00am EST; 7:30pm IST
Venue: (a sold out) Meadow Park, Borehamwood
Forecast: Sunny, 34°F/2°C
How to watch: The FA Player is the only thing you need to watch every FA WSL match for free — yes, FREE — barring any applicable local broadcast rights. Did I mention it’s free? It’s super 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: Sam Kerr may have just two starts for Chelsea, but with Fran Kirby out, this really is all about how much she can elevate the team on her own. Eventually Kirby will join her and Beth England and Chelsea will be at maximum unfairness, but that (sadly) won’t be this Sunday.
Sam Kerr has so far been a great complementary piece of the team, directly and indirectly creating goals. On Sunday she’ll need to do even more, and as she has yet to score her debut goal for Chelsea, I can’t think of a better time or scenario for it.
Arsenal team news: Arsenal’s squad is healthy and fitter than they were the last time we faced them. Their midfield is stronger and their players are full of confidence. Since losing to us they have of course won every match, some by many-many goals, others by keeping their calm and netting late winners.
Their team seemingly have no flaws. They keep the ball well, move in and out of space, break lines with the timing of their movements and passes, and thoroughly dominate every team they play — outside of us *aforementioned mustache twirl*.
Previously: A 2-1 win for the Blues in rather dramatic fashion. After Arsenal scored in the 9th minute, the Blues equalized in the 57th and stole the match on Maria Thorisdottir’s 85th-minute first-time strike. It was a thing of beauty. (Unfortunately, Maria Thorisdottir is currently recovering from a fractured leg.)
Sauce Moment of the Week: This is good to see. New singing Jamie-Lee Napier picked up the ball in midfield, avoided a lunging tackle from behind and drove straight through before laying the ball off for Bethany England, who sat her defender down and then left the rest up to Ji. A proper way to celebrate her 150th appearance for the club!