Match Preview

Women’s preview: Seeking a seventh

It is an away game to bring the calendar year to a close for Emma Hayes’s side, with some easily recognisable players waiting to face us in the Sunday afternoon kick-off.

THE FORM

Chelsea Women will be looking to maintain the impressive run of form which has recorded six victories on the bounce, each of which was achieved with a clean sheet. Our most recent outing took place on Wednesday night at Kingsmeadow and the Blues ran out 7-0 winners over Yeovil Town to ensure qualification from our Continental Tyres League Cup group. Drew Spence and Bethany England netted two goals apiece, which were added to by Adelina Engman, Erin Cuthbert and an own-goal. Prior to that we defeated Reading in our latest WSL match, as Ji So-Yun's 50th goal for the club proved to be enough to defeat the Royals in a 1-0 victory that was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests.
Brighton were also among the goals in the Conti Cup in midweek, beating Crystal Palace 5-1 to move up to second place in Group One South. They will join us in the quarter-finals with a win at Yeovil on Wednesday night, although even three points may not be necessary if other results go their way. The Seagulls are second from bottom in the WSL standings, though, with only four points to their name. They have lost their last three in a row, including home defeats against West Ham and Reading.
 

ELSEWHERE IN THE WSL

This is the final WSL gameweek of 2018 and it could bring a shake-up at the top of the standings. Manchester City can draw level alongside Arsenal when they host Birmingham City in the early fixture, having last weekend beaten the Gunners who not in action. Elsewhere, Everton host Bristol City, Liverpool travel to Reading and Yeovil Town meet West Ham United.
 

FAMILIAR FACES

The Brighton squad is packed full of former Chelsea players. The Seagulls are captained by Dani Buet, who was a long-serving Blue and grew up supporting the men's team, and she is joined by Marie Hourihan, Victoria Williams, Sophie Perry, Laura Rafferty, Jenna Legg and Jodie Brett. Brighton's manager Hope Powell has also worked with some of our England internationals during her 15-year stint in charge of the Lionesses.
 

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

This will be our third match against Brighton this season, with the Blues winning the first two at Kingsmeadow. Our maiden competitive fixture of the campaign came against the Seagulls in the Continental Tyres League Cup and although we eventually ran out comfortable winners, it required a defensive mistake for Spence to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time. Our performance was more fluid after the break, with Fran Kirby deservedly extending our advantage with a typical poacher's finish, but there was a nervy finish when the visitors pulled a goal back late on through Aileen Whelan. However, Bethany England headed home with two minutes remaining to ensure we began the season with a victory.

Then, at the end of September, we record our first Women's Super League win of the campaign with a 2-0 triumph over Brighton. We took the lead late in the first half courtesy of a brilliant volleyed finish by Kirby, who was picked out inside the box by Magdalena Eriksson. Three minutes later, our lead was doubled and it was another sublime goal, this time on the counter-attack, with Cuthbert finishing off a rapid break.

Last season, before the Seagulls became a top-flight team, we travelled to Sussex to meet them in the Continental Tyres Cup and once again it was the Blues who emerged victorious. Kirby volleyed us ahead after only 13 minutes and late goals from Crystal Dunn and Ji completed the scoring.

 

 

2018 WSL RECORD

This will be the Blues' 24th and final Women's Super League match of the year. We've lost only one of the previous 23, winning 14 and drawing eight, with 34 goals scored and 16 conceded. Manchester City are the only team we have faced in the league in the past 12 months without recording a victory, with all three matches between the sides finishing all square.

The game is live on the BBC red button and BBC online.

 

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