First place in the WSL is squarely on the line Sunday afternoon, as the Blues welcome Manchester United to Kingsmeadow.
September’s season opener in Manchester was a tightly contested 1-1 draw, giving a preview of the war that has been waged since. Victory today would put Chelsea in the WSL driver’s seat and could serve as a springboard towards defending our title. Likewise, a victory for the Red Devils could serve to make them the title-favorites.
All eyes on Kingsmeadow then.
Date / Time: Sunday, January 17, 2020, 14.30 GMT; 9:30am EST; 8:00pm IST
Referee: Rebecca Welch
Forecast: Chilly, Partly Cloudy
On TV: BT Sport 1 (UK); NBCSN (USA); elsewhere
Streaming: BT Sport App (UK); NBC Sports Live (USA); The FA Player (countries without TV deals/listings)
Chelsea FCW team news: After last weekend’s dominating performance against Reading, we will see if Emma Hayes plays eleven players, or just sends Fran Kirby out there by herself. If Fran does have company, Sam Kerr is likely to join her. The two combined for Chelsea’s only goal in the first meeting between these two sides and have only sharpened their connection since.
Here's what Emma Hayes had to say in her press conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Manchester United! pic.twitter.com/9gmi4o1dY9— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) January 15, 2021
Emma Hayes toyed with a center back pairing of Millie Bright and Sophie Ingle last weekend, but with first place on the line, expect club captain Magda Eriksson to return. Ingle may be favored in middle of the pitch alongside Melanie Leupolz to help Chelsea deal with an industrious United midfield. Ann-Katrin Berger has made some wonderful saves against tomorrow’s opposition and may see more opportunities to do so again than she normally does.
Manchester United WFC team news: MUWFC haven’t played a match in 2021 yet, thanks to COVID-19 postponements. Still, their form has been good all season and manager Casey Stoney appears to be building a long-term WSL contender.
USWNT newcomer Tobin Heath has gotten a lot of attention (and she’s been very good), but Leah Galton and Ella Toone have played nearly every minute and scored or assisted on 13 league goals. Jackie Groenen has also featured regularly and been important to United’s success. Millie Tuner has played every WSL minute for United, anchoring a backline in front of goalkeeper Mary Earps.
Previously: These two teams kicked off the season with a 1-1 draw in Manchester. Sam Kerr put the Blues in front before Leah Galton earned Manchester United a share of the spoils.