The time to get our fingerprints all over a shiny piece of celebratory metal is finally here. Weirdly enough, Chelsea Women have never won the WSL League Cup, and manager, Emma Hayes has not let them forget that.
“It’s been like our mantra the whole year, the Continental Cup: ‘We’ve never won this, we’ve never won this.’ It has been the fuel in every game we’ve played in the tournament. I think we are all, honest to God, a bit tired of Emma saying it, so we said: ‘OK, now we’re going to win this so she can’t say it any more.’”
–Magdalena Eriksson; source: The Guardian
To be fair, annoying your team to success is a tried and true managerial tactic — though this Chelsea squad are infused with a rare determination. They’re still unbeaten in the league, into the FA Cup quarterfinals, and 3-1-0 against the two best teams in the land, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Arsenal will no doubt see this as an opportunity to exorcise some demons after Chelsea clobbered them 4-1, at home, in our previous matchup. Both clubs are motivated, full of talent, and keen to get an early start on this season’s trophy haul. It should be a terrific match (that we better win).
Date / Time: February 29, 2020; 17.30 GMT; 12:30pm EST; 11:00pm IST
Venue: City Ground, Nottingham, England
Forecast: Mostly cloudy & windy, 42°F/6°C
How to watch: The match will be televised on BT Sport in the UK & Ireland, which is terrific news. A sport can’t grow if it’s not promoted and placed on television, where ad money still rules. For those of us outside the British Isles, The FA Player will be streaming the match live!
Chelsea team news: The WSL League Cup starts with group stages, then progresses to knockout rounds. To get here, Chelsea topped their group with wins over West Ham, Crystal Palace, Lewes, Tottenham and a draw (and subsequent 4-2 penalty shootout loss for some reason) to Reading. A quarterfinal win over Aston Villa and a semifinal win over Manchester United put the Blues in the final.
The team overall all healthy, with no real injuries to report. Sam Kerr’s continent-hopping over the international break saw her at a rare less than stellar level, but she should be getting back to herself. Thankfully, Bethany England still hasn’t stopped going nuclear.
Arsenal team news: Arsenal’s path to the final included wins over London City, Charlton Athletic, a penalty loss to Brighton, then a big win over Bristol City and London Bees. In the quarterfinal they squeezed by Reading 1-0, and topped Manchester City 2-1 in their semifinal.
League-leading scorer Vivianne Miedema’s attempt to bag her first goal on Chelsea was dealt a blow with the loss of fellow forward Beth Mead to an MCL injury. Mead is a pretty important piece of Arsenal’s attacking band, and her five assists in all competitions is second on the team.
Mead came on as a sub in our 4-1 and instantly changed the match with her movement and energy, which eventually paid off when she scored their lone goal. Arsenal are still stacked with attacking talent, but this is a substantial loss.
Previously: A 4-1 thrashing that was 3-0 after twenty minutes.
Sauce Moment of the Week: Look, I have no idea what kind of circuitry or machinery Beth England feet are made of, I’m just glad she’s on our team. This is a thirty-yard wallop from only a half-step run up that beats the best keeper in the league.