Buckle up! The final stretch of the season is here and this is what we’ve been waiting for. Over the next several weeks the Blues’ 2021 trophy cabinet could be brimming with as many as four shiny new major trophies.
One of those is the FA Cup, and Chelsea return from international duty to face London City Lionesses in the Round of 32. With the contest preceding three HUGE matches, it will be fascinating to see how Emma Hayes approaches things. She is just as likely to use the 90 minutes as a “tune-up” for the primary XI, as she is to rest her big players for Wednesday’s WSL title showdown against Manchester City.
Unfortunately for a lot of us, we have no idea if we will even be able to see this match. Chelsea have confirmed the match will be available on the 5th Stand App, but only within the UK. Chelsea’s YouTube and Facebook are listed as additional places to watch, but it is not specified whether or not the availability is International. We are approaching the day, hopefully soon, when finding these games won’t be akin to Indiana Jones seeking out the Lost Ark. As of now though, it serves as another stark reminder of the state of things in women’s football, even in 2021.
Date / Time: Friday, April 16th, 2021, 7:00pm BST; 2pm EDT; 11:30pm IST
Referee: Chloe-Ann Anderson
Forecast: Mild, Mostly Cloudy
On TV: none
Streaming: Chelsea’s 5th Stand App (UK); Chelsea’s YouTube Channel (international?)
Chelsea FCW team news: With one and a half eyes on Manchester City, there could be significant rotation. Jessie Fleming looked impressive for the Canadian national team over the break, and Emma Hayes surely noticed. Ji So-yun hasn’t been as heavily involved in the team of late and may also play in midfield. It would be nice to see a bit of her creative spark return and this match may be a good opportunity to relight it.
Maren Mjelde’s injury continues to stress already thin defensive resources, but Jess Carter, Hannah Blundell, and Niamh Charles have all filled in admirably. At the other end of the pitch, the Blues attack continues to be on fire, with Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby particularly scorching. Bethany England may get an opportunity to lead the line here, while “Kerrby” lay in wait for Manchester City.
London City Women team news: The Lionesses sit smack dab in the middle of the FA Women’s Championship (i.e. second division) table. Their last victory came just over two months ago when they defeated Lewes, 3-2. London City have failed to score in their four matches since, drawing only one point from them.
London City’s most prolific scoring threat is former Chelsea Academy player Atlanta Primus. After departing the Blues, Primus had a successful college career at Cal State Fullerton. Despite playing from midfield, Primus leads the Lionesses with four goals. Harley Bennet brings experience and reliability in midfield, having played every minute this season. American goalkeeper Jessica Shae Yañez has likewise been undroppable, but will have her hands full against the Blues. Though finding a result is unlikely, manager Melissa Phillips spoke about the opportunity of playing a titan like Chelsea.
Previously: These sides were scheduled to meet in the Conti Cup back in November, but COVID forced the match to be cancelled. So this match will be the first time the two sides have faced one another.