Chelsea FCW suffered the disappointment of the weekend match against Bristol City getting postponed due to an unplayable pitch. The Blues were all ready to set the WSL record for the longest unbeaten run ever at 32 games.
That remarkable feat, dating back to January 2019, will now have to be set against Aston Villa, a match that itself was postponed earlier, due to COVID quarantine protocol.
Assuming the match is played, Chelsea have a chance to make history.
Date / Time: Wednesday, January 27th, 2020, 19.00 GMT; 2:00pm EST; 12:30am IST (next day)
Venue: Banks’s Stadium in Walsall
Referee: Helen Conley
Forecast: Cold, Rain likely
Aston Villa WFC team news: In a somewhat unusual move, Villa announced on Monday the hiring of Marcus Bignot to serve as “interim manager” until the end of the season. The current coaching staff, including “head coach” Gemma Davies will remain in their current roles. It’s uncertain how the new setup will work long-term, but Aston Villa clearly value Bignot’s experience.
In December, Villa announced the signing of exciting forward and Japan national team captain, Mana Iwabuchi. Her first appearance came in Villa’s most recent match, a 2-2 draw against Reading. Iwabuchi scored and ultimately led her team to an important point as Villa continued to separate themselves from Bristol City at the bottom of the table. Iwabuchi will need to play a massive part for her new club against Chelsea.
Villa have scored just ten league goals this season, a major contributor to their current second worst spot in the table. They’ll need to break out for at least a few goals to have a chance today. Iwabuchi is the most likely candidate but keep an eye on Diana Silva and Ramona Petzelberger, who leads the team in goals scored.
Chelsea FCW team news: The postponement against Bristol City leaves the Blues with a rested squad. There is another league match to consider on Sunday, but with a chance for a major record on the line, expect a strong lineup. The Fran Kirby — Sam Kerr connection has been electric all season. Kerr may yet to find her best finishing, but she creates so many problems for defenses and seems to always be on the same page as Kirby. Fran should be particularly fresh, having not played in over a week.
I was intrigued to see if Emma Hayes would opt to give Sophie Ingle another start at CB against Bristol City. While it is still something Hayes may consider, Bright and Eriksson returning to their normal CB partnership is a safe bet. Melanie Leupolz continues to earn her position in midfield and may be the most undroppable in a group that includes Ji, Cuthbert, and Ingle.
Finally, Maren Mjelde, who has been an integral part of the club since arriving in 2016, officially extended her contract through 2022 his week. Mjelde is a beloved teammate, experienced veteran at both club and international level, and now a Blue for at least another season!
Previously: These sides have only met twice previously, with the most recent coming in January of 2020 as the Blues won 3-1 to book our place in the Conti Cup semifinals.