Emma Hayes cannot wait for Chelsea FC Women to play in front of our fans when we host West Ham at Kingsmeadow today.
It has been three weeks since the Blues last played a competitive match together due to the international break. December is a busy month for Hayes’ side with five games in 15 days but the Chelsea manager is relishing the number of games coming up.‘Well first of all, where we haven’t had a lot of games, we’ve had a lot of training,’ she said.‘Where we’ve had a lot of internationals remain at Cobham during the international break, we’ve had a really big training window that has allowed us to formulate relationships on the pitch that were needed. I’ve been so encouraged with what I’ve seen because I can feel things coming together.‘When we put new players into the team you’ve got new dynamics and that process takes time. You can’t evolve from one stage to the next without it going through a period of adaptation.‘There is no straight line to success but I’m excited by the performances that have been put in by the players and we’re just ready now to get going with this block of five games.’
Today will see the Blues come up against West Ham for the sixth time in our history and Hayes has outlined what type of game she anticipates from our London neighbours.‘Well I’m expecting a West Ham team that’s going to sit in, they are going to sit very deep with numbers behind the ball and they will look to counter us and that’s something we will be prepared for.‘The team recognises that West Ham will sit inside their own half and that we have to work to break them down. With the quality that we’ve got it might require patience at times but we do have the capacity to beat anyone.’For the first time since February, today will see a select number of Chelsea fans return to Kingsmeadow and Hayes has expressed her delight in being reunited with our supporters.‘No matter the number, it’s going to feel like a completely different atmosphere. Even if it’s a smaller number it’s going to feel like thousands to us and we’re going to need that support against West Ham.‘Our crowd is important to encourage the players and give us that extra motivation in the right moments and I look forward to them being able to see some of the new players.‘It’s exciting, I’m also looking forward to us being together with the fans again and hopefully continue this amazing run that we’ve been on.’
Today's game which kicks off at 12.30pm can be watched live on the BBC Red Button.