WOMEN'S WEEKLY

With only two more games to play until the mid-season break, it's imperative Chelsea Ladies revert back to winning ways following three successive defeats, starting tonight when we face the sternest of tests...

Arsenal await
The Blues travel to Borehamwood this evening to take on an Arsenal side who will be full of confidence after winning the FA Cup just over a week ago.

The Gunners, however, haven't started the league campaign as well as they have in the past, and assistant Chelsea manager Paul Green is confident we can come out on top in the first meeting between the two sides this season.

'We're looking forward to it, it's a big game, a London derby and the fact it's live on ESPN adds a bit of spice to the tie,' he tells the official Chelsea website.

'We know it will be a hard game, Arsenal are a top-quality side but it's a good chance for us to show what we can do.

'When you go to Borehamwood every player in the squad has to be on the money in order to get a positive result.

'Emma [Hayes] won't have to say a lot to get the players up for such a big game. If we can get the result it will keep Arsenal below us because they haven't had as good a start to this season as in previous years, and they're desperate for a win.'

Green also acknowledged the significance of the match to manager Hayes, who makes her first return to a club where she worked from 2006 until 2008.

'It will be a special night for Emma as it's her first return to Arsenal, so she'll have different emotions ahead of the game going back to a place she knows very well and enjoyed a lot of success,' he explains.

'We trained well on Tuesday night and the girls were in good spirits. They can't wait to get going and face the challenge of going to the champions. These are the games, as players and staff, that you should look forward to, because you're testing yourself against the best of the best.'

Birmingham disappointment
Our last encounter saw us fall to a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham, but Green feels there was plenty of encouragement to take from a game we were unfortunate to lose.

'We were disappointed with the result but in terms of the performance itself we were really pleased,' he says. 'Our possession football was probably the best we've had all season, so there were a lot of positives to take from the game.

'We kept the ball really well and our attacking play was excellent, we just lacked a final ball once we were in good positions.

'We saw Hannah Blundell come back from injury, and Drew Spence as well, who both came off the bench and made a huge impact on the game. Hannah scored after only two minutes of coming on, rounding off a brilliant 19-pass move by smashing a right-footed strike into the top corner, so that was really encouraging.

'We were delighted for her, particularly with it being her debut, because she's a very exciting prospect and we've got high hopes for her.

'We just made two errors and got punished for them. The first one was right from the kick-off in the second half, within 12 seconds of the restart we were 1-0 down because we just didn't get a challenge in, and the next thing we knew it was in the back of our net.

'Ten minutes later, we conceded a bit of an unfortunate goal in some respects. We had good possession of the ball but as we played a pass inside it hit the referee and fell straight to Jo Potter, who took a touch and scored from 30 yards.'

Heading in the right direction
Tonight's game against Arsenal precedes Sunday's home clash with Everton, our last game before the mid-season break.

Assessing the first half of the campaign as a whole, Green feels we can be reasonably satisfied, particularly taking a huge turnover of players into account.

'We've been largely encouraged,' he says. 'We're a new group of players and there was a big change to personnel before the season.

'We're now getting to know the players more and they're getting to know each other a bit better and the way certain players play.

'We have been a bit up and down in terms of performances but I think that's to be expected with so many new players coming into the squad.

'Now we've had a chance to bed in, we're starting to see the potential and everything looks positive for the second half of the season, I think we'll only get stronger as we progress.'

Sunday's game against Everton takes place at Tooting & Mitcham FC, with a host of entertainment for all the family on offer ahead of kick-off, including a bouncy castle and bungee run.

Tickets are priced £5 for adults and £3 for juniors and seniors.