A Sunday double-header of Chelsea away games against Manchester City begins with our Women’s team’s 1pm kick-off at City’s Academy Stadium. Here’s the background to the encounter…
Our midweek game against Manchester City resulted in further Continental Tyres League Cup disappointment against our rivals, as we lost a semi-final to them for the third time in this competition – which is in stark contrast to our FA Cup record against the same opponents, having won all three of our last-four ties against City.
Nikita Parris did the damage on this occasion, scoring twice in the second half, which halted the Blues’ momentum after we had won away at Everton in the FA Cup fourth round a few days earlier.
City’s run of form is 14 wins from their past 16 games, with the other two matches drawn, since they were eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid.
We have played 26 matches this season and 15 players have reached double figures for appearances, showing the strength in depth Emma Hayes has at her disposal. Leading the way is Erin Cuthbert, who has featured in 24 games, and she is closely followed on 23 by Magda Eriksson, Drew Spence and Bethany England.
The latter is our top scorer this term, netting 12 of our 71 goals in all competitions. There is not much in it for the race for the club’s Golden Boot, however, as Spence is just behind on 11, followed by Kirby and Cuthbert who have 10 and nine goals apiece.
Not forgetting our goalkeepers, there have been 20 clean sheets this term: nine for Hedvig Lindahl from 12 matches, seven for Telford in 10, while Lizzie Durack and Ann-Katrin Berger are yet to concede for the club in three and one appearances respectively.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Those not attending today’s game can watch on BT Sport. You can still keep up to date with the matchday experience 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.
- Read: Bright on 'must-win' game
EARLIER THIS SEASON
We met City on the opening weekend of the WSL campaign, a match that ended goalless. Although neither side could find a way through, with both defences largely on top, there were chances at either end of the pitch. Chelsea will point to having come the closer to breaking the deadlock, most noticeably through Ramona Bachmann and Ji So-Yun, but a point was perhaps the fairest result.
Our record against Manchester City in the WSL leaves room for improvement. Although we were victorious in the first match between the sides in 2014, thanks to late goal by Jackie Groenen, we have not registered another league victory since. We should have set that record straight at the Academy Stadium last term, when goals from Millie Bright and Ji So-Yun gave us a 2-0 lead before half-time, but City levelled things up late on to earn a point.
However, as mentioned previously, we have thrice reached the Women’s FA Cup final at their expense. Ji So-Yun and Fran Kirby scored late goals in 2015 and 2016 to send us to Wembley, while Super Fran’s clinical brace last April settled another semi-final between the sides.
SEE THE BLUES AT KINGSMEADOW
There are two opportunities to see the Blues in action at our KT1 home this month. On Sunday 17 February we host Arsenal in the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup, in a repeat of last season’s final. Then, during half-term, we have a midweek match against Bristol City, which is our next home league game, on Wednesday 20 February. Fans attending that game can pick up a free Chelsea FC scarf with every ticket.