After not losing a match and dominating the first half of the season — including defeating both title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City — Chelsea sit third thanks to two draws against lesser competition, plus a game in hand. It is not ideal, and means that even after all of Chelsea’s brilliance Emma Hayes’ charges will have to be even better in the second half if we are to win the title, or at the very least get back into the Champions League.
GOOD THING WE SIGNED SAM KERR!
It’s unclear if Hayes will throw Kerr straight into the fire, but she and fellow winter signing, Jamie-Lee Napier arrived at Cobham back from the holiday break at the same time as the rest of the squad, so should be as match fit as all the others.
Reading sit sixth in the league and, despite a negative goal differential, have only lost three times, to Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal. Chelsea of course have the firepower even without Kerr to score goals and win the match — unless this match turns into one of those matches in which we don’t finish our chances.
Date / Time: Sunday, January 5, 2020; 12:30pm GMT; 7:30am EST; 6:00pm IST
Forecast: Mostly Cloudy, 47°F/9°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 it’s free? It’s super free. Sign up on the FA Player website, bookmark the site, save Chelsea FC Women’s fixture schedule, and keep checking WAGNH.
Chelsea team news: We, finally and officially, have Sam mf’in Kerr! The biggest signing in women’s football! Kerr, alongside Lyon’s Ada Hegerberg, is one of the two best goalscorers in the women’s game.
It will be interesting to see how Emma Hayes will reshape the squad to keep Sam Kerr on the pitch, hopefully alongside Bethany England. She’ll likely have to do some jumbling, and possibly have to rely on heavy rotation to keep everyone involved and happy enough. With Arsenal coming up in two weeks, it all has to be figured out rather quickly.
Reading team news: Reading are an interesting side who tend to score bunches against competition at their level or lower. Against Arsenal and Manchesters City and United they scored a combined zero goals, while just before the break they walloped Spurs, who sit just below them on the table, 3-1.
Their leading goalscorers are midfielders Jade Moore and Remi Allen (both tied with 3), which probably reveals the difference in approach (and effectiveness) against teams they think they can beat versus teams against whom they know are better.
Previously: We’ve faced Reading in the FA WSL Cup group stage this season, in a dead rubber match, which ended 1-1 (thanks to a long range strike from Deanna Cooper) but we lost 4-2 on penalties. Our last league meeting was a 1-0 win, with Ji So-yun scoring the lone goal.
Sauce Moment of the Week: Since we’re at the midway point, let’s reflect on a classic. Bethany England kicked this season off against Spurs at Stamford Bridge by scoring this absolute piledriver in the 4th minute.