A raft of positive test results at Aston Villa postponed the game against Chelsea that was supposed to take place 17 October (we hope everyone at Villa is feeling well and has a full recovery), which means that our last competitive match was over three weeks ago. Since days are months or years in these #unprecedented times, you may have forgotten that at the time, Chelsea were in season-best form, dispatching Manchester City 3-1 four days after trouncing Arsenal 4-1 in the League Cup group stage opener.
An international break followed, during which Maren Mjelde collected her 150th cap for Norway, Sophie Ingle had a touching moment receiving a commemoration of her 100th Wales cap from her mother, and Pernille Harder led Denmark toward qualification for the 2022 Women’s Euros. England’s friendly with Germany was cancelled after a member of the Lionesses staff tested positive for COVID-19, but the worst news out of England camp was Fran Kirby picking up an ankle injury.
“Fran’s been assessed by the medical team, she’s got an ankle injury and she’ll be out for weeks. I don’t know how many so I’m not going to put a number on it but hopefully it won’t be too long and we look forward to seeing her back on the pitch soon.”
–Emma Hayes; source: ChelseaFC
It’s not a stretch to say that Kirby was nearing the form of her life, and after such an extended period of time off with a rare heart condition. Luckily, Chelsea have a deeply talented squad, but Fran has been the player of the season so far, and filling those boots will be quite the task for whomever Hayes picks instead.
Date / Time: Tuesday, November 3, 2020; 7:00pm GMT; 2:00pm EST; 12:30am IST
Forecast: Clear, 45°F/7°C
How to watch: Chelsea’s last League Cup group stage match, a London derby versus Arsenal (the one that Chelsea won 4-1), was inexplicably not available on any streaming platform. The backlash online was substantial enough to force Chelsea to stream this match. Visit Chelsea’s website, 5th Stand App, Facebook page, or YouTube channel.
Chelsea team news: Good news is that so far everyone came back from the international break without COVID-19. Bad news is the aforementioned ankle injury to Fran Kirby.
Replacing Kirby will likely push Erin Cuthbert out to the right-wing, which will take away from the wildcard roaming 8 role she had been playing in midfield. Though Niamh Charles is more comfortable on the left, there’s a chance Hayes could look to see if she can do a passable Fran Kirby impression the right. Any other tweak would likely require a formation change, which Hayes isn’t afraid to do, but would be unexpected against Tottenham.
Tottenham team news: Spurs’ marquee signing, USWNT superstar Alex Morgan, is still attempting to work herself into playing shape after giving birth to her daughter, and is not expected to take part in this match. Apart from that, Spurs are relatively healthy. However, a week ago Tottenham head coach Karen Hill tested positive for COVID-19 and is in quarantine for at least another week. Tottenham report that Hill has had a negative swab test in the last few days, but per FA protocols she must still complete her quarantine. We of course hope for a speedy and full recovery.
Previously: Nearly a year ago (11 November 2019) Chelsea hosted Spurs at Kingsmeadow and sent them back across London with a 5-1 defeat. Interestingly enough, the first half ended 0-0, then Chelsea got angry and scored in the 49th, 56th and 58th minutes, and added two more in the 75th and the 84th for good measure.
Sauce Moment of the Week: Any time we play Spurs I will post this Bethany England goal. It was scored in the 5th minute of Chelsea’s 2019-20 season, which kicked off at Stamford Bridge. (This is also a strike from what Bethany England calls her “weak” foot.)