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Chelsea FCW vs. West Ham United FCW, WSL: Preview, team news, how and what to watch

Will we finally see the real 2022-23 Chelsea FCW? Let’s hope!

Chelsea Women v West Ham United Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Until the death of Queen Elizabeth, Chelsea were set to kick off the season against West Ham at Stamford Bridge. Instead our opener was a trip north to Liverpool (the less said about that the better), and we will now make-up the match against West Ham with a midweek at Kingsmeadow.

Despite the scheduling weirdness, Chelsea now have the opportunity to tack on another three points, just three days after securing our first three of the season versus Manchester City. It also gives us another chance to see the changes Emma Hayes is implementing in the team this season.

The Liverpool match was disjointed and, likely in an effort to avoid dropping six early points, the approach to the Manchester City match resembled a Cup final. The quick turnaround may force some juggling of the starting XI, but we should get a better sense of how Chelsea truly want to play in 2022-23.

Date / Time: Wednesday, September 27, 19.05 BST; 2:05pm EDT; 11:35pm IST
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Kingston Upon Thames, UK
Referee: Tom Reeves
Forecast: 57°F/14°C; Mostly cloudy

On TV: BBC Two, BBC Sport (UK); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (UK); Paramount+ (USA); elsewhere

3 things to watch

Pernille Harder possible injury return — One of the reasons the approach versus Liverpool was so wonky was Pernille Harder having to be replaced after warmups. She had felt tightness in her hamstring and the decision was made not to risk it. Against City on Sunday, Harder didn’t even make it as far as warmups. We’ll have an idea of the severity should that trend continue, or if Harder’s absence was calculated by Hayes knowing she can have a fresh superstar attacker take the pitch midweek.

It’s (ex-)Hammer Time? — The only summer signing yet to play a minute is former West Ham player Kateřina Svitková. Oh Emma, you’re a sneaky one, aren’t you? Svitková was an unused sub in both matches so far, so it’s unlikely that her absence is due to injury. Instead, it’s possible Hayes will turn to her now with a midweek match against players and a coach she knows well. If Svitková takes the pitch, where she lines up will be another piece of her story, as she had played forward, attacking, center and right midfield, as well as left wing-back for the Hammers.

Wherefore art thou Sam Kerr goals — The last time we had to wait until Sam Kerr’s third WSL match to bag her first WSL goal of the season was when she arrived in January of 2020. Each season since she’s started her march to the golden boot early and often, having scored at least two goals by her third match. Last season, when the final whistle blew to end our third match of the season, Kerr already had four goals and one assist. However, we shouldn’t be too worried, as the aforementioned odd start to the season has had an impact on cohesion. Kerr’s movement is still exceptional, but as a striker who is nearly impossible to stop when in form, a couple goals would go a long way to kickstarting that kind of form.

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