Chelsea’s 3-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur in late January earned the Blues a semifinal matchup against West Ham with a chance to play for the season’s first trophy on the line. Yesterday, Arsenal and Manchester City played in the other semifinal, which needed extra time to be decided. Stina Blackstenius scored to give our London rivals the lead, and eventually the win. Should Chelsea prevail, a familiar foe will be waiting.
But first we must find a way by West Ham, who are surely sporting fresh confidence after frustrating Arsenal to a 0-0 draw in the league this past weekend. Head coach Paul Konchesky pulled the right strings to make life difficult for the Gunners. However, Arsenal also played a role in their goalless night in Dagenham by hitting twenty-one shots, nine on target, without finding the net.
This will be Chelsea’s final match before a number of our players spread out across the globe with various national teams. But our only objective first is to schedule a date to play for the season’s first trophy!
Date / Time: Thursday, February 6, 2023, 19.15 GMT; 2:15pm EST; 12:45am IST (next day)
Venue: Chigwell Construction Stadium, Dagenham, UK
Referee: Louise Saunders
Forecast: 39°F/4°C; Mostly cloudy
On TV: none
Streaming: BBC iPlayer (UK); The FA Player (everywhere else)
3 things to watch
Starting XI — While Arsenal’s suffering at the hands of West Ham should be a warning shot, Chelsea are one of the deepest teams in the league and could still compete with the Hammers with a less than full strength lineup. Recently, Emma Hayes has been mixing and matching in midfield and along the defensive line. A chance to play for a trophy is never taken lightly around Chelsea, but Hayes will expect any team she names to be able to execute her gameplan and defeat the team 7th place in the league.
Magdalena Eriksson — In recent matches, Jess Carter has taken on the left back position, leaving Eriksson on the bench, or in our last match, not in the squad at all. It’s no secret that Eriksson’s contract, just as Pernille Harder’s contract, expire at the end of the season, and so far there have been no signs of renewals for either. However, without Eriksson, Chelsea’s defense has also looked incredibly shaky. Though we’ve scored three in each of our last three matches and won them all, we’ve also conceded five times.
Johanna Rytting Kaneryd — The winger looked bright in early substitute appearances but has yet to put together a solid performance when given a rare start. With Fran Kirby and Lauren James called up to England’s squad by Sarina Wiegman, Emma Hayes could turn to Kaneryd as an option to spare some minutes on her stars’ legs. Kaneryd is an exciting player as an incredibly direct dribbler, and could be the type of player to lean on against West Ham’s expected low block. With her last start nearly two months ago, Kaneryd will be starving for another chance to impress.