Chelsea made a not so ideal start against Paris FC in the Women’s Champions League on Thursday, but made amends in the second half to romp to a 4-1 victory on the back of a hat-trick from captain Sam Kerr.
We can take that momentum into today’s game, as we return to Women’s Super League action, and host Leicester City at Kingsmeadow.
Chelsea are the clear favorites for this match-up, top of the table versus midtable, but as always, things can take a wrong turn if we let our guard down.
Date / Time: Sunday, November 26, 2023, 14.00 GMT; 9am EST; 7:30pm IST
Venue: Kingsmeadow, Kingston upon Thames, UK
Referee: Megan Wilson
Forecast: Drizzle and light winds
On TV: none (US); none (UK); elsewhere
Streaming: none (US); none (UK)
Chelsea team news: We currently lead the league with 19 points from seven games, and have not lost a game in any competition since April: a run of 18 unbeaten, with 15 wins. And as Thursday’s game proved, even in times when the collective aren’t doing so well — though we did improve after some half-time adjustments and substitutions from manger Emma Hayes — individual talents like Sam Kerr or the lesser-heralded Johanna Rytting Kaneryd can take over and shine bright.
Guro Reiten, Catarina Macario and Kateřina Svitková are still out of contention. So is captain Millie Bright, who withdrew from the latest England squad so she can focus on her recovery from a knee injury.
Given the short turnaround and the busy schedule overall, Hayes expects a rather tough game against “the most aggressive team in the league”, who play an interesting style of football under head coach Willie Kirk.
“They are the most aggressive team in the league, statistically. They allow the fewest number of passes per defensive actions in the WSL.
“They demonstrated in the first half against Arsenal, it was about one-vs-one duels and very transitional. So it’s going to be a game where you have to compete with them first and you earn the right to play.
“If they continue in the same way, we all know there are going to be spaces, but equally there are going to be threats, because they commit bodies forward, are brave and aggressive. But I think every game is hard.”
-Emma Hayes; source: Chelsea FC
Leicester City team news: The Foxes are yet another Women’s Super League team who revamp much of their squad in the summer: 16 in, 9 out in a bid to keep themselves in the top division.
So far, that bid isn’t going all that convincingly. They may be seventh in the table, but they’re only four points above bottom side Bristol City, and have won just two games in the league, going winless in their last five. In fairness, they have impressed in moments even in adversity, such as getting two first-half goals against Arsenal before eventually losing 6-2.
Injuries will keep only two Leicester players out of contention for this encounter: Shannon O’Brien, due to a quadriceps injury; and Deanna Rose, carrying a hamstring problem.
Previously: Chelsea have won five in a row against Leicester, the last of which featured an all-out stellar attacking performance: four first half goals, with two more in the second half completing a 6-0 rout.