A clinical performance that resulted in an impressive 5-0 victory in Portugal last week has Chelsea FCW with one foot in the next round of the Champions League already.
Unfortunately for us, London’s return to Tier 3 status of COVID-19 lockdown means the second leg at Kingsmeadow will be played behind closed doors. Still, the mood is buoyant around the club and another victory would continue to grow confidence.
Date / Time: Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 19.00pm GMT; 2:00pm EST; 12:30am IST (next day)
Referee: Lina Lehtovaara (FIN)
Forecast: Cold and Rainy
On TV: None
Streaming: Chelsea Official Website and The 5th Stand App
Chelsea FCW team news: The Blues immense squad depth can be a juggling act for Emma Hayes, but it pays dividends during a busy schedule. With such a large advantage in hand from the first leg, fitness and rotation will surely play a part in lineup selection. Last week’s match saw Champions League minutes for Jess Carter, Niamh Charles, and Jessie Fleming. It would be enjoyable to get to see them play again.
Fran Kirby and Guro Reiten terrorized the home side in the first leg, connecting for multiple goals and generally making life miserable for Benfica. Kirby has continued her run of blistering form but may be given a day of rest. Bethany England scored her first career Champions League goal last week and will look to add to her tally, now that she’s off the mark.
SL Benfica team news: It’s said that a wounded animal is the most dangerous. Having been dealt a heavy blow at home in the first leg, Benfica face the Herculean task of reversing a five-goal deficit. They’ll also have to do so on a cold, rainy night in London. Still, Emma Hayes pointed out in her pre-match press conference that she expects the return leg to be a different type of match.
Benfica haven’t played a match in the past week, so fitness shouldn’t be an issue. Christy Ucheibe was dismissed in the first leg, picking up a second yellow card following a somewhat bizarre coming together with Erin Cuthbert. Her absence will make Benfica’s task all the more difficult.
Previously: One of the Blues best performances of the season came at the right time last week. Chelsea found the net early and often, ultimately hitting the net five times without reply.