The FA WSL Cup, unlike the men’s equivalent competition, has reverted to a Champions League-esque format, with a qualifying group stage (4 groups of fieve teams each) followed by knockout rounds. Chelsea began play in this competition earlier this week and will contest the second of four total group stage matches tonight.
COME ON, YOU BLUES!
Date/Time: Saturday, November 4 at 17:30 GMT (1:30pm EDT)
Venue: Stoke Gifford Stadium, Bristol, England
Forecast: Partly sunny, cold 6°C (49°F), Wind speed 8 m/s W
On TV/Streaming: No indications of live video for this game, but keep an eye on Twitter for coverage and highlights.
Notable Team News: I was unfortunately unavailable to cover the Wednesday match which was the opening salvo in the league cup, but the Ladies did not fail to show up. They defeated a hardy Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0, with a scoreline that looks like the Blues were sleepwalking compared with their league victories thus far this season. Nevertheless, goals for Fran Kirby, Ji So-Yun, and the unstoppable Crystal Dunn put the result beyond doubt and the Blues head into tonight's fixture with a comfortable win in the competition already under their belts. The task will be quite similar for this evening, though Bristol City are likely to pose a tougher challenge than in the opening game of the new WSL season, when Chelsea won 6-0.
With a yellow card Wednesday (two in the last two matches for her), Millie Bright seems likely to push up into the center of the park, replacing Katie Chapman, and giving the right center back slot over to Maria Thorisdottir. I do expect to see some rotation up front as Hayes looks to keep the talented squad happy, with Kirby perhaps dropping for Eni Aluko, who was undeniable in her return to the starting lineup last weekend. I’d expect Hayes to keep the fluidity in the front three that has been so successful thus far, and she absolutely had to keep Dunn the side. Mjelde, despite excellent performances could be rested alongside her usual midfield partner Chapman — Erin Cuthbert proved she deserved to see more active minutes last Sunday — and could work in tandem with Spence to push and pull the opposition, creating space for Dunn to exploit on the wing. The resolute Lindahl must also retain her spot between the goalposts, as she has yet to let in a goal on English soil so far this year.
Predicted scoreline: 4-0.
Chelsea are looking just about unstoppable at this point, but as Conte's men learned against Crystal Palace, comfort is the enemy of success. Here's hoping the Ladies don't make the same mistake. KTBFFH!