Women’s preview: Season finale

Chelsea Women travel to Adams Park tomorrow (Saturday - 12.30pm kick-off) to take on Reading for our final Women’s Super League match of the season, and we have a full preview ahead of the game, including some words from Emma Hayes.

The form

Chelsea Women have moved up to third place in the FA Women’s Super League after rediscovering our goal-scoring form and thrashing Yeovil Town 8-0 Tuesday evening. The goals were shared between four players - Bethany England, Erin Cuthbert, Adelina Engman and Fran Kirby. England scored a well-deserved hat-trick within the first half, Cuthbert netted twice either side of the break, Engman was on target and Kirby came on in the latter stages of the match to get a brace.

Chelsea’s season will end without any silverware unfortunately. However, we have been extremely unlucky not to reach the final of the Women’s FA Cup and Women’s Champions League. Manchester City were gifted a finalist spot in the FA Cup when Magda Eriksson, through no fault of her own, looped a ball into our net in the closing seconds of the contest at the Academy Stadium. The Blues’ journey in the Champions League came to a halt at the semi-final stage after Lyon edged the victory over two legs with the score finishing 3-2 on aggregate. 

It is looking likely that we will finish third in this year’s WSL standings behind first-place Arsenal and second-place Manchester City. So far, out of 19 matches, the Blues have won 11, drawn six and lost two.

Reading will finish fifth in the league regardless of the result against us as Bristol City have no way of catching them up and Birmingham City, who sit fourth are currently 10 points ahead. So far Reading have won eight, lost eight and drew three matches. The Royals three-match winning run in the league came to an end at Everton as the they lost 3-2 in Southport for the second time this season.

How to follow

For those of you who are unable to attend tomorrow’s fixture, as always, you can follow the action via our social media channels. There will be live text commentary on our Twitter page, regular updates on Facebook and for behind-the-scenes footage, make sure you check out our matchday Instagram story. Simply search 'ChelseaFCW' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all content.

View from the dressing room

Manager Emma Hayes is expecting a tough encounter against Reading, and she explains why.

‘It’s always a battle when we play them, it’s a bit of a derby game so I expect it will be really tough to finish the season off but one we can feel very confident about.

‘It’s always a close game with Reading so I don’t expect anything different. Both teams are going to want to finish the season as strong as possible.

‘We want to make sure that we sign off the season and go into the next one in a much Brighter position than we did this one.’

Previous meetings

We have won six and drawn two out of eight meetings against Reading and all encounters have not been short of action. The first match was in the Continental Tyres Cup which ended in a 3-2 victory. Gilly Flaherty opened the scoring for us, but Reading went ahead when Rebecca Jane and Lauren Bruton scored either side of the break for the hosts. However, Ji So-Yun came off the bench and set up Millie Bright before netting the winner herself.

Our first WSL win came in September 2016 and we came away with three points courtesy of Katie Chapman’s powerful header, Gemma Davison’s superb solo goal and Ana Borges netting in added time. In the return fixture at Wheatsheaf Park on the penultimate game of the season, we were 3-2 winners. Borges again found the back off the net and Eniola Aluko was on target twice.

The next match followed in the Spring series at Adams Park and we 4-0 victors after a dominating performance. Karen Carney scored first with a header with Drew Spence, Ji and Hannah Blundell netted in the second half.

In the 2017/18 season, both matches finished 2-2. We trailed in the away fixture in November to Remi Allen’s first-half goal, but we went ahead from an excellent free-kick from Carney and Aluko finding the net. It looked as though the three points were ours until a last-gasp own-goal from Magda Eriksson earned Reading a point.

When we hosted Reading at Kingsmeadow in the March, Reading took the lead again in the first half, this time from a Brooke Chaplen penalty and they doubled their advantage shortly after the break through Fara Williams. The Blues found a route back into the game to earn a point through Jonna Andersson and Fran Kirby scoring against her previous side.

This season we have played the Royals twice at our KT1 home. The first game in December which was in the WSL resulted in us coming away with a 1-0 victory. Ramona Bachmann stood up the defenders and found Ji with a low ball. The South Korean controlled the ball, picked her spot and calmly rolled it into the corner to give us the lead.

In January we knocked Reading out of the Continental Tyres Cup at the quarter-final stage after a thumping 4-0 win. Kirby put us ahead early on and Anita Asante scored her first-ever Chelsea goal close to half-time. Kirby fired home her second of the game and Ali Riley added to the scoresheet in the 90th minute.

Elsewhere in the WSL

There are four other matches taking place within the WSL on Saturday, all with the earlier kick-off of 12.30pm. League winners Arsenal host second-place Manchester City and Yeovil Town will host Birmingham City. The Women’s FA Cup finalists, West Ham United host Brighton & Hove Albion, while Liverpool take on Everton in the Merseyside derby.

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