Finally, a season-opening victory!
Although Tottenham did what they could to stop us from achieving that surprisingly elusive goal, with Martha Thomas insisting on showing why she’s taken over for Bethany England as Spurs’ go-to centre-forward, the Blues were simply the better side at Stamford Bridge in the opening match of the season. Now, heading to Joie Stadium in Manchester, we will need to be much better against hosts Manchester City.
Trips to their ground haven’t always been pleasant and it does look like manager Emma Hayes is still figuring out the best way to deploy all the talent she has at her disposal. But if we are to beat City, whomever Hayes calls to action needs to be at the top of their game.
Date / Time: Sunday, October 8, 2023, 12.30 BST; 7:30am EDT; 5pm IST
Venue: Joie Stadium, Manchester, England
Forecast: Sunny and light winds
On TV: BBC Two (UK); none (USA); none (India); NTA Sports 24, SuperSport OTT 7 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (UK); Paramount+ (USA); none (India); none (NGA)
Manchester City team news: City didn’t have a busy transfer window, unlike Chelsea and many of our rivals. Their only notable departure was Hayley Raso moving to Real Madrid after getting few chances to shine as Bunny Shaw dominated the centre-forward position. Their only incoming signing was midfielder Jill Roord on a club-record £300,000 fee, moving back to England following two seasons at Wolfsburg.
Roord’s move is already paying dividends as she scored one of the goals in their 2-0 win over West Ham in their opening game last weekend. However, that win came at a cost as fullback Leila Ouahabi got a red card and therefore won’t be available against us.
One notable absence last weekend was the aforementioned Shaw, who had been out of contention after picking an injury during the last international break while playing for Jamaica. But according to manager Gareth Taylor, she’s getting back to full fitness and could be involved today.
Chelsea team news: Starting the season on a win is something Emma Hayes wanted to accomplish before she could start thinking about anything else. And so, we did it, and so, now she can.
The 2-1 win was tougher than expected, but the masterclass provided by Niamh Charles at left-back and the two assists she gave, to Mia Fishel and Lauren James, are hopefully a sign of things to come for us this season. We have loads of talent to use and only need to make the best use of them to win the league for the fifth season in a row.
On injuries, we have good news with Sam Kerr back to full availability. Catarina Macario and Katerina Svitkova are the two players still absent from the squad due fitness problems.
Previously: Our most recent trip to Manchester, a 2-0 defeat, made us worry that we didn’t have it in us to successfully defend the Women’s Super League. Those worries were unfounded in the end, but we’d rather take inspiration from the marvelous 3-2 win in the FA Cup final last year.