Following an impressive 6-0 shellacking of Bristol City on opening day, matchday 2 in the 2017-18 Women’s Super League sees Chelsea travel to Sunderland for a kick-off under the Saturday night lights.
It’s the start of a very busy twelve days at the club, with Chelsea playing twice in the league and twice in the Women’s Champions League, home and away on successive Wednesdays to Bayern Munich in the first knockout round (Round of 32). With the men’s team on break during that time, these will surely be the games to watch.
Date / Time: Saturday, September 30, 19:30 BST; 2:30pm EDT
Venue: Mariners Park, Jarrow, England
Forecast: Partly cloudy, a very cold 52°F/11°C around kick-off, Wind: 2 m/s, Humidity: 70%
On TV/Streaming: As the game starts just as the men’s first-team match against Manchester City is ending, ChelseaTV will not be streaming it live. Unfortunately, as there’s no word on any other broadcaster picking it up, this means the game probably will not be available for viewing while it’s underway. Full replays should be available within 8 hours on YouTube or CTV.
Notable Team News: Deanna Cooper and Jade Bailey are still missing for the Blues through long-term injuries. Sunderland, for their part, are free of any noteworthy injuries. Though their squad saw a fair bit of turnover over the last year, they look raring to go after a 1-0 away win vs Reading to start the season. With three points, they return to their new home for the season, Mariners Park, where they will be hoping to repeat the success of last weekend’s smash-and-grab.
Expected Lineup: Given how well both Eriksson and Thorisdottir looked going forward last weekend, I would not be surprised to see Hayes keep both in against a Sunderland side that is very difficult to break down. Because Ji struggled to get involved in the match against Bristol City, the expectation is that she remains in super-sub mode until she finds better form and fitness. That could mean the rest of the side remains unchanged from last week’s victory, as there’s no reason to halt the momentum of something that’s working quite well.
However, the wrench in that thinking is Chelsea’s midweek matchup with Bayern Munich. It may in fact behoove Hayes to rotate the squad in order to have her best XI fresh for the big test against the German club. The projected lineup anticipates that move. All the same, given the readiness shown by the players last time out and the deluge of talent in the team, the Blues should win this one with some ease.
Predicted Scoreline: 3-0.
Chelsea are comfortably atop the league table after one round of matches, but that’s no time for letting off the gas. This could be a tricky week ahead for the Ladies. Here’s hoping we bag a few early and put it on cruise control as we look ahead. KTBFFH!