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Brighton & Hove Albion WFC vs. Chelsea FCW, WSL: Team news, preview, how to watch

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Back again!

Chelsea Women v West Ham United Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Chelsea are back in league action after punctuating a return to the Champions League with a 5-0 win over Benfica. In that match, Emma Hayes gave Guro Reiten just her fourth start of the season, and the left-winger took the opportunity to serve up three assists — all in the first half!

Brighton will surely be much stiffer competition, and fresher, too, given Chelsea’s flight to Portugal and back midweek. However, Brighton have been in a bit of a rut recently. After starting the season with marquee results, holding Manchester City, then Everton, to draws, the Seagulls have had an awful November. They lost 2-0 to freshly promoted Aston Villa and lost 2-0 to Reading in the WSL Cup; and that streak continued into December with a 3-1 loss to Tottenham last week.

As far as this writer is concerned though, all of that means nothing. In fact, if it means anything at all, it’s likely to mean that a result against Chelsea would go a long way toward covering up a really bad patch of form. It should be a tough match, with Brighton packing in their lines and pressing Chelsea out of dangerous areas. The Blues will likely have to be patient and unafraid to try new combinations in and around the attacking third.

Should Chelsea pass the test and collect the three points, we will remain within the three points from our game-in-hand (vs Aston Villa) of topping the table.

Brighton & Hove Albion WFC team news: Manager Hope Powell will surely be looking to make her team as frustrating to play against as they were earlier in the season against Manchester City and Everton. One player to keep an eye on is Denise O’Sullivan, who was loaned to Brighton from NWSL club North Carolina Courage. O’Sullivan has been the unsung hero of the Courage’s recent dynasty era in the States. She is a smart, mobile and aggressive player who is difficult to play through 1v1.

Chelsea FCW team news: Emma Hayes’ first decision will be whether to name a true midfield or go with the all-out attack lineup that has either Sophie Ingle or Melanie Leupolz behind a stacked attacking line. That decision will directly influence how many of Chelsea’s plethora of attacking options can fit into the starting XI.

The last time Sam Kerr was on the pitch she scored her first Chelsea hat-trick, and while it was a long-time coming, she ended up running into a West Ham player while on her way to celebrate her third and picking up a knock. Kerr was on the bench versus Benfica, but was an unused sub. A healthy and fit Sam Kerr will be important through this busy fixture period, so it wouldn’t be totally unexpected for Hayes to ease her back after the injury scare.

Previously: One of Chelsea’s three draws all of last season was the 1-1 at Broadfield Stadium. It was a very difficult match that required a stoppage time equalizer from Adelina Engman, who plays for Montpelier now. Since I tend to believe, at least halfheartedly, in omens and jinxes, the less said about this match, the better. Instead...

Sauce Moment of the Week: Every time we play Brighton I am contractually obligated to bring back one of the best clips Chelsea’s video department have ever created. Enjoy!