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Chelsea FCW vs. Bristol City WFC, WSL: Team news, preview, how to watch

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The Blues look for their first win of the WSL season

Chelsea v Bristol City - FA Women’s Super League - Cherry Red Records Stadium Photo by John Walton/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images

After dropping points on the opening day of the 2020-21 WSL season last weekend against Manchester United, in a disappointing 1-1 draw, Chelsea will hope to pick up our first victory of the season in the home opener at Kingsmeadow, against Bristol City whom we beat by a five-goal margin last time.

Date / Time: Sunday, September 13, 2020, 12:30 BST; 7:30am EDT; 9pm IST
Venue: Kingsmeadow
Referee: Stacey Pearson
Forecast: Clear

On TV: BBC Red Button (UK); none (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (UK); NBC Sports Live (USA); The FA Player (countries without TV deals/listings)

Chelsea FCW team news: As if Emma Hayes needed additional talent at her disposal, Pernille Harder’s debut cameo last weekend left much to be excited about. Her pace and quick turn on the ball may not have been enough to spur the Blues to a late victory, but it will likely earn her a place in the starting lineup come Sunday.

It will be interesting to see if her anticipated inclusion comes in place of, or alongside one of Chelsea’s other elite striking options. Sam Kerr scored the opening goal of the WSL campaign, but has missed many quality chances in the last two weekends. It is quite a luxury for manager Emma Hayes, when her alternate choice is PFA player of the year, Bethany England. After scoring a brace in the last meeting with the Robins, England will look to add to her tally.

Not to be outdone, Ji So-yun also scored a pair in Chelsea’s 6-1 victory over Bristol City WFC back in January. After being subbed off in the second half last weekend, she should be fresh and ready to pull the strings in the Chelsea midfield.

Bristol City WFC team news: The Robins were beaten handily in their opening match of the season, to the tune of 4-0 by Everton. Manager Tanya Oxtoby knows the mountain will only gets steeper when her club arrives in London on Sunday. After all, the Blues poured in 10 goals against Bristol City in just two matches last season.

Oxtoby knows she can’t fight fire with fire and will hope her squad can soak up large spells of Chelsea pressure and hit hard on the counter when chances arrive. Having conceded two goals from set pieces against Everton, The Robins will need to avoid giving away free kicks in dangerous areas, especially with the creativity at Chelsea’s disposal.

Other than former Chelsea player Laura Rafferty, now on loan at Bristol from Brighton, we might remember the name Ebony Salmon, the sole goalscorer for Bristol City against the Blues last season. She ended the campaign with 5 goals in 14 matches. Midfielder Carla Humphrey missed the tail end of last season with a foot injury, but is healthy again and providing quality in the midfield. Goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley will want a full night’s rest prior to the match. She should expect a very busy afternoon after the Blues took a whopping 28 (TWENTY-EIGHT!) shots in the last meeting between these two clubs.

Regardless of the lineup selection, Emma Hayes will hope to see a bit more urgency and crispness than last time out. A strong performance on Sunday would provide a boost to the club heading in to the first international break of the season.

Previously: The last meeting was also a WSL match at Kingsmeadow, back in January. The Blues romped to a 6-1 victory, behind braces from England and Ji.