For the first time in a long time — well over two years, in fact — Chelsea fell victim to fumbling a match against mediocre competition while looking ahead to a bigger match.
On Sunday, the Blues’ WSL record-breaking unbeaten run came to a crashing halt, with a shock defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion. Perhaps (surely) looking ahead to the midweek match against Arsenal, Emma Hayes named a heavily rotated side who couldn’t rescue a point despite the 55th-minute inclusion of Ji So-yun, Fran Kirby, and Pernille Harder.
So the streak ends at 33. Time to start a new one.
Fortunately, Manchester United also lost at home, in slightly less shocking fashion to Reading, 0-2, which means that Chelsea remain top of the league thanks to goal difference, and with a match-in-hand. But Manchester City are now just two points behind us, having beaten Arsenal 2-1 at the weekend, and on the same number of games played.
And that makes this London derby all the more ... derby-er.
Date / Time: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 19.00 GMT; 2:00pm EST; 12:30am IST
Forecast: Clear; -3°C/26°F
Chelsea FCW team news: Starting goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and starting center back Millie Bright were not even in the squad for the Brighton match, so hopefully neither are actually injured. Also missing from the squad was Niamh Charles, who has been impressive in her limited time and surely would have been in Sunday’s XI if fit.
Everyone else should be fit, and also well and truly angry.
Arsenal team news: The Gunners are in the midst of an injury crisis. No, not one of those “unlucky” injury crises, but a seemingly quite legitimate one, which had even led to an internal investigation of manager Joe Montemurro’s training practices.
Still, the crisis goes on, and Arsenal expect to be without Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Jen Beattie, Steph Catley and Viki Schnaderbeck. Of course the Gunners will still have plenty of talent on show, including Danielle van de Donk, Jill Roord, Katie McCabe and the always dangerous Vivianne Miedema — who has, shockingly, scored just two WSL goals since November.
Previously: The reverse fixture was a 1-1 draw at Meadow Park, with Arsenal scoring both goals. Chelsea played a sloppy match full of fouls and turnovers, and managed to end the game with zero (0) shots on target.
While in a trollish way it was very funny that a 90th-minute own goal ensured that Arsenal only picked up a point — and Sam Kerr then had a great chance to snatch all three points deeper into stoppage time but narrowly missed an open goal — Chelsea will have do a fair bit better tonight to get the three points we need.