The first trophy of the 2021-22 season is on the line. Chelsea will meet Manchester City at Cherry Red Records Stadium in London, a location Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor is already griping about. Nevertheless, we will have to defeat City for the third time this season if we are to defend the League Cup (i.e. Conti Cup) for the second year running.
Chelsea’s most recent match against City was a tale of two halves. We dominated the first, scoring within the first 15 minutes, and had a handful of chances to add to the lead but didn’t. Then, Taylor brought off a striker for a midfielder and Emma Hayes took off Jessie Fleming, who was partnering brilliantly with Erin Cuthbert to gum up City’s midfield, and the Blues had to hold on for a stressful last half hour. It took some confident and quality defending from Millie Bright, Jess Carter (who did an exceptional job containing Lauren Hemp), and Aniek Nouwen to see out the win and the clean sheet.
However, Chelsea are typically a different prospect altogether in Cup finals. Hayes knows how to throw the big switch to generate the highest tier of performance from every player who steps on the pitch. We need only look at Chelsea’s destruction of Arsenal in the FA Cup Final on December 5th for an example. With City recently finding their best form of the season, it just may take a similar performance to ensure another trophy and third straight League Cup crown.
Date / Time: Saturday, March 4, 2022, 17.15 GMT; 12:15pm EST; 10:45pm IST
Venue: Cherry Red Records Stadium, London, England
Forecast: Light rain; 44°F/7°C
How to watch: BBC Two or BBC iPlayer (UK & Ireland), The FA Player (most everywhere else)
Chelsea team news: Emma Hayes blessed us with some good news ahead of the match, Captain Magdalena Eriksson and Maren Mjelde are available! However, Hayes did say that there’s no chance of Mjelde playing out of an abundance of caution.
Unfortunately, Melanie Leupolz is still out with long covid and Erin Cuthbert will also be unavailable for the match. We have gotten used to playing without Leupolz as she recovers, but Cuthbert was a big part of that solution. Without her, and a dire need to control midfield against Manchester City, it’ll be on some combination of Sophie Ingle, Jessie Fleming, Drew Spence and Ji So-yun to get the job done.
Manchester City team news: Vicky Losada, City’s summer arrival from Barcelona, is set to miss the match after picking up an injury against Manchester United last weekend. However, fellow midfielder Laura Coombs should be fit enough to at least make the bench. City’s player of the season last season, Chloe Kelly, is recovering well from her ruptured ACL but is still a ways from a return to the pitch.
Perhaps most important to City’s current resurgence has been the return of primary goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, who’s started the last five games across all competitions. City’s record in those matches is four wins and one loss, with the one loss being to Chelsea.
Previously: Guro Reiten scored in the 14th minute and the Blues held on to take all three points.