After a dominant 2019-20 season of 47 goals in 15 unbeaten league games, then signing some of the world’s best footballers to add to the squad, this season’s iteration of Chelsea has been disappointing. In fact, if you exclude the 9-0 versus Bristol City, Chelsea have a negative goal differential across all competitions. It’s only two matches, sure, but it’s Manchester United and Everton: top-half clubs, but neither close to the rarified air of the top-two, where Chelsea were last season, and should be again this season.
One of the problems has been a sputtering attack. Sam Kerr has uncharacteristically missed her fair share of chances, Pernille Harder is getting used to playing in a new league and with new teammates, and Emma Hayes has left Bethany England on the bench. The latter is the most egregious. Kerr’s and England’s games complement each other and they were forming a solid strike pairing before last season was halted.
Another concern has been the slow start of Ji So-Yun. Chelsea’s savvy attacking midfielder so far has no goals and no assists. Though Chelsea should get all three points away at Birmingham, with the Blues’ next matches being Arsenal in the 2020-21 Conti Cup and Manchester City in the league, cohesion in midfield and solutions in attack are things to watch for beyond a result.
Date / Time: Sunday, October 4, 2020, 14:30pm BST; 9:30am EDT; 7pm IST
Venue: Damson Park, Solihull, England
Forecast: 11°C/51°F; Light Rain
Birmingham City team news: Birmingham were most recently matched up against Chelsea’s previous opponent, Everton, and lost as well. The two matches were polar opposites, however, as it were Everton who had all of the scoring chances versus Birmingham, converting three with no reply.
Chelsea starlet Jamie-Lee Napier was loaned to Birmingham before the start of the season in an effort to get her more playing time.
Chelsea team news: Aside from some bruised egos, most everyone is fit. There’s still a question as to the severity of Magdalena Eriksson’s injury that kept her out of the matchday squad against Everton, so keep an eye on whether we see her name anywhere on the team sheet this week or not.
Previously: 6-0; Chelsea went into Damson Park and demolished Birmingham in gloriously evil ways. Ji So-Yun put in a free kick in the second minute, Millie Bright tore through midfield to score a left-footed strike from the center back position, Bethany England netted twice (including via a sublime cross-pitch connection with Bright), and Drew Spence scored a brace as well.