Chelsea FC Women resume our Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign after the international break when we host West Ham United at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
Here we preview the match and give you all the information you need…
When and where?
The Blues return to our KT1 home Kingsmeadow on Sunday against London neighbours West Ham for a 12.30pm kick-off.
Fans’ return to Kingsmeadow
Following on from the Government’s recent announcement in permitting fans to attend events in stadiums, for the first time since February the team will play in front of supporters at a reduced capacity. Over 700 supporters are permitted for Sunday’s game. This reduced capacity is due to required social distancing at the stadium. With seats only available for a small percentage of our normal attendance at Kingsmeadow, we empathise with the many who will be disappointed to initially miss out on getting a ticket.
Click for information on the return of fans
How to follow
Fans who on this occasion were unable to get match tickets, can keep up to date with the match via our social media channels. There will be live commentary on our Twitter page, regular updates on Facebook and Instagram. Simply search ‘ChelseaFCW' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date.
The match will also be shown live on the BBC Red Button.
Chelsea currently sit third in the league standings with one game in hand. We headed into the international break after picking up a point on the road to Arsenal to extend our unbeaten run in the league to 27 games.
There was little to separate the sides throughout a hard-fought 90 minutes but this London derby came to life in the latter stages of the encounter with both goals coming in the final five minutes.
Arsenal’s Beth Mead netted from close range on the 86th minute and just as our unbeaten run looked as though it was going to come to an end, we responded almost instantly when Pernille Harder’s cross flicked off Lotte Wubben-Moy and into the back of the net beyond the Gunners goalkeeper.
Opponents West Ham have only managed to win one league game so far this term, losing five and drawing one.
They narrowly lost 1-0 in their last league outing against Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls caught West Ham against the run of play, when forward Rianna Jarrett lobbed Mackenzie Arnold in goal.
The Irons, however, were last in action on Wednesday 18 November for the Continental League Cup and they came away with a convincing 4-0 victory against Championship outfit Charlton Athletic to top their group. Emily van Egmond got the ball rolling when she netted Rachel Daly’s cross and in the second half, Daly whipped in another cross and it was Leanne Kiernan who directed home with her head. Another goal came within minutes when West Ham’s two goalscorers combined, for Kiernan to burst into space and coolly slam a shot into the top right corner of the net. Substitute Martha Thomas added to their scoring when she turned in a corner.
Chelsea Women v West Ham United Women head-to-head record
This is the third year that West Ham have competed in the top flight and in that time the Blues have met the Irons five times. We have a good track record against our London neighbours having won four and drawn one.
The last time we played West Ham was in February when we recorded an emphatic 8-0 triumph at Kingsmeadow. It took us seven minutes to open the scoring courtesy of a Maren Mjelde half-volley and the Blues’ lead was doubled shortly after when Bethany England slotted home with ease. Sophie Ingle scored a header to ensure we went into the break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
The fourth goal came soon after the interval when Erin Cuthbert unleashed a power left-footed strike that flew into the net. Two more goals came in the space of five minutes either side of 60 minutes when England and Mjelde added their second with simple finishes. We didn’t stop there as late goals from Ramona Bachmann – who opened her account for the season – and Emily Murphy added the finishing touches to a relentless performance.
The away league match that year finished 3-1 courtesy of goals from Ingle, Ji and Drew Spence’s second-half goals. Ingle scored first to get us back into the game with a smart finish teed up by Ji, and minutes later the South Korean blasted a long-range effort into the top corner. Substitute Spence added the third in stoppage time which was set up by Fran Kirby, who marked her 100th Chelsea appearance when she came on in the closing stages of the contest.
We also faced them in the Conti Cup last season and secured a 2-0 win at home thanks to goals from England and Guro Reiten after the break. The Blues won our first ever meeting against West Ham at Rush Green when former Blue Bachmann notched an outstanding brace and the home fixture ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw. But it was it was a special day as we marked Spence’s 10 years as a Chelsea player.
On Sunday, Chelsea is supporting Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign, which highlights ‘we are strongest when we come together’. The campaign sends a strong message of zero tolerance to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour, whether on the pitch, in the stands or on social media.
A poem commissioned for Chelsea FC by writer Rikki Beadle-Blair, and voiced by captain Magdalena Eriksson and men’s captain Cesar Azpilicueta will be shown ahead of each of the games this weekend to promote the campaign. Both captains will once more wear the special rainbow-themed laces with players at all levels invited to wear coloured laces in their boots.
Emma Hayes’ squad return to Champions League football on Wednesday when we travel to Portugal to face Benfica in the round of 32 first leg. The match kicks off at 3pm (UK time).