Women’s Weekly

It’s a busy eight days ahead with plenty of chance to see Chelsea Ladies in action as they play three home games in a row.

FA WSL Continental Cup semi-final within reach
Despite losing at Arsenal Ladies last weekend Chelsea remain on course to reach the last four of the Continental Cup and know a big win over London Bees should see them through as group winners.

The Blues are currently top of Group A and victory will give them 12 points, a total that should see them qualify as the best runner-up even if Arsenal win both their remaining matches and better Chelsea’s goal difference.

Should the Blues make it through they will line-up in their second semi-final of the season having lost to Arsenal in the FA Women’s Cup earlier in the season. Defender Hannah Blundell admits lifting a trophy is high on the agenda for the players.

‘We obviously want to win silverware this season and we’re going strongly in the Continental Cup, so hopefully we can carry on like that against the Bees,’ said the England Under-20 international.

‘The Bees are a new team for me, I don’t really know much about them but as long as we play to our strengths I’m confident that we can come away with a win. 

‘We’re always on the lookout for an upset in the cup, so we need to make sure we don’t underestimate the Bees. We’ll go in level-headed and play our own game to hopefully come away with a result that sees us in to the semis.’

Big games ahead
Following this Sunday’s 2pm kick off at Wheatsheaf Park the Blues have a busy week with Arsenal and Manchester City visiting Staines in the space of seven days. 

Both games are in the FA WSL and six points would keep Chelsea towards the top of the table, having moved up to second following the recent win at Everton.

Manager Emma Hayes knows the importance of the upcoming fixtures and urged her players to find a way of beating Arsenal if they are going to challenge for the title.

‘We play Arsenal twice more before the end of the season, having lost in both cup games we’ve played, and my players need to show me they can find a way to win these big games as until now we haven’t shown we can,’ she said. 

‘We have underperformed in big games and the players need to remember they are only playing against another shirt - the name of the team is irrelevant. We have shown too much respect and it needs to change.

‘I have challenged the group to prove themselves and expect a positive reaction against London Bees.’

Exciting new arrival 
This Sunday will be the first opportunity for Chelsea fans to see new recruit Ana Borges up close.

The Portuguese winger scored on her debut at Everton and Hayes expects plenty more in the remainder of the season.

‘I think the fans will enjoy watching Ana. She is an exciting, pacey winger and adds another dimension to the squad we have put together,’ added Hayes.

 

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England call ups 
Claire Rafferty (pictured above) has been included in Mark Sampson’s latest England squad for the match against Sweden in Hartlepool next month.

Rafferty has been back in domestic action since May, following an anterior cruciate ligament injury and joins Laura Bassett and Eni Aluko as part of a Chelsea trio in the squad.

‘Claire deserves huge credit for her recovery and is now back enjoying her football and playing well for Chelsea and it is great to have her back in the squad,’ said Sampson.

Train the Ladies' way
Later this summer there will also be the opportunity to train with some of the team and learn about the Chelsea way at a girls' training camp at our Cobham training ground.

The programme will run from 18 to 21 August for youngsters aged between seven and 16, with top-level coaching alongside workshops on nutrition, lifestyle, career opportunities, competitions and Q&A sessions.

More information on the ladies training camp can be found here.