At the moment, Chelsea and Aston Villa sit on the exact opposite ends of the Women’s Super League spectrum. The Blues continue to make a strong claim for our latest title defence, while the Villans continue to search for any path towards just one win in the competition.
And so, this is a prime scenario for a “trap game”, especially with the improving quality of the WSL overall. As it has been the case for just about every game this season, we can’t expect these 90 minutes to be a walk in the park either.
At the same time the we shouldn’t be afraid to go “all guns blazing” against an opposition with a lot of frailties that can be exposed and exploited by the talent we have up front. We cannot, must not take our foot off the gas pedal while Manchester City keep their own unbeaten streak going as well.
Date / Time: Saturday, November 4, 2023, 12:30 GMT; 8:30am EDT; 6pm IST
Venue: Bescot Stadium, Walsall, UK
Referee: Abi Byrne
Forecast: Light rain and a gentle breeze
On TV: Sky Sports (UK); CBS Sports (USA); none (India); W-Sport (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky GO (UK); none (USA); none (India); none (NGA)
Aston Villa team news: Villa were yet another team with major changes to their squad over the summer, with 12 players leaving — including current Chelsea backup goalkeeper Hannah Hampton — and seven new ones arriving.
However, neither the new signings not those who had stayed on from last season lived up to the expectations thus far. Villa sit second-to-last in the table, with no points recorded and a minus-six goal difference, four better than bottom of the table Bristol City.
Midfielder Kenza Dali and forward Kirsty Hanson, returning from injury and suspension, respectively, could provide a key boost for manager Carla Ward.
Chelsea team news: As somewhat forewarned last weekend, Brighton got the early goal against Chelsea and tried really hard to make that lead count on the back of a stellar performance from goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley.
Thankfully her efforts weren’t enough to stop us in the end — though it took us 31 shots (13 on target) to fight back for a 4-2 victory. A bit of defensive improvement wouldn’t go amiss either, with manager Emma Hayes looking to find some rhythm in the team.
Hayes expects to utilize the squad depth in this game and in the block of games going forward, as Melanie Leupolz and Guro Reiten are set to miss out (alongside long-term injury absentees Kateřina Svitková and Catarina Macario), while a couple other who were not named face late fitness checks. Sophie Ingle, should she play, will set a new WSL record for career matches played with 183.
Previously: A hard-fought 1-0 win over Villa, courtesy of Sam Kerr, got us through to the Women’s FA Cup final.