It is second against third in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this afternoon when Chelsea Women take on Manchester City Women at Kingsmeadow, and Blues defender Maren Mjelde says Chelsea are more than ready for the challenge.
Emma Hayes’ Chelsea side slipped down to third place from the top spot after our fixture last weekend was postponed at Everton due to a frozen pitch. Therefore, today’s opponent and fellow title contenders Manchester City are currently two points above us in second. But the Blues have one game in hand, so should we be victorious today, we will jump above them.
In each of the last four league meetings between Chelsea and City, there has not been much to separate the two teams with all four fixtures ending in draws, and although Mjelde believes it will be another close contest on Sunday afternoon, she is hoping the Blues will come out on top.
She said: ‘It’s not easy to predict what is going to happen because it’s two teams that want to win to make the distance between the teams bigger.
‘It’s really tight at the top of the league, we need to prepare well for them and they are going to be doing the same.
‘I think it will be the team that is having the best day on Sunday that will win but I’m sure that we have enough qualities to win against them.’
Due to our postponement on Merseyside, the Blues have not kicked a ball competitively since our 6-0 drubbing of Birmingham a fortnight ago, while City earned a 1-0 win in a tight contest against Liverpool last weekend.
Nick Cushing’s side now head to Kingsmeadow for the 18th encounter between the two teams and with another capacity crowd expected at our stadium, Mjelde is hopeful the extra preparation plus the support of the Chelsea Women faithful can give the Blues the advantage.
‘I feel like teams don’t really like coming to Kingsmeadow,’ she stated. ‘It is of course one of the biggest games, playing against City is always a good challenge for us and it’s good to have them at home before Christmas.
‘The week before Everton we had three games. We have been training well this week, we’ve saved the legs and had a great week of training.’
On Thursday and Friday, eight Chelsea players were named in the Guardian’s newspaper’s top 100 best female footballers on the planet and the Norwegian defender came 81st.
On being acknowledged in the respected roll of honour, Mjelde said: ‘It’s a good thing to be on that list, I feel like I have been doing well for some years now. It’s a good achievement to be on a list like that with so many good players.’
Our newest signing Sam Kerr topped the poll, while Fran Kirby, Magdalena Eriksson, Ji So-Yun, Guro Reiten Erin Cuthbert and Bethany England were the other Blues to be recognised in the annual list.
Chelsea are back at our KT1 home Wednesday evening when we take on Reading in our last Continental Tyres Cup group D match. Kick-off is at 7pm and you can purchase your tickets here.