Chelsea FC Women continue our Barclays FA Women’s Super League title defence this afternoon when we welcome rivals Manchester City to Kingsmeadow and manager Emma Hayes knows it will be a tough match but insists her team will be ready for it.
Today is our second big game in five days having faced Arsenal in the Continental League Cup on Wednesday evening. The Blues went onto win 4-1 in the London derby thanks to a Guro Reiten brace and goals from Magdalena Eriksson and Bethany England.While Hayes is delighted with our mid-week victory, the Chelsea boss quickly turned her attention to today’s test.‘Wednesday was the performance that I was looking for, I asked for something from the team, I asked them to play like a team and come together,’ said Hayes.‘To have each other’s backs and show a positive attitude in the approach that when we deal with the difficult moments and the difficult setbacks that we’re on the same page – I thought we did all that superbly.‘I’m so pleased for the whole squad. When you’ve had players sat on the bench, waiting for the right opportunity and deliver the performance that they did, I’m super excited for them. That’s really given us a boost going into this game with Man City.‘What I keep saying to my team at the moment is that when you have those high situations, that football can kick you quite quickly and so it’s absolutely crucial that we park that Arsenal game and our mindset is onto an extremely difficult game against Manchester City.’
In August, Chelsea and Manchester City battled it out at Wembley Stadium for the Community Shield. Second-half goals from Millie Bright and Erin Cuthbert ensured the Blues triumphed 2-0 in the curtain-raiser to clinch our first piece of silverware of the season.‘The result at the start of the season bears no resemblance for what we will face on Sunday afternoon,’ Hayes stated.‘This team is stronger, they are more aggressive, they’ve got world-class players at their disposal and they are in a confident place. So for us it’s absolutely crucial that we are switched on to deliver the game plan that I’ll ask.’Hayes added more quality to her squad by bringing in forward Sam Kerr for the second half of last season and ahead of the 2020/21 campaign, she recruited Pernille Harder, who was recently named as UEFA Women’s Player of the Year, and midfielders Melanie Leupolz and Jessie Fleming.The manager acknowledges that it takes time for new players to settle into the team and said: ‘We had to integrate a lot of attacking players that are new to the club and that takes time.‘But I’ve shown in all my years here that we know how to put a team together that will compete.
‘We have a dressing room that is committed to improving but that means you have got to evolve and that evolution requires process and we’re in the middle of that.‘We’re the champions of England and I expect us to demonstrate the behaviours of champions. The way you do that is to make sure you’re conscious of your behaviours and the threats and we will be ready for them.’Our last league encounter with our rivals finished in a six-goal thriller with both sides taking a share of the points and the Chelsea boss is anticipating another lively encounter later on today.‘It was the point towards the title, that’s how crucial it was, it was the title decider if you want to call it that.‘We know these games are tough, we know this is the hardest fixture on the calendar for us.‘They’ve recruited really well in the summer because they’ve seen the strength and depth that our team has which I think they match – It will be a wonderful spectacle for the fans.‘
Fans can keep up to date with how the match unfolds via our social media channels. There will be live commentary on our Twitter page and regular updates on Facebook and Instagram. Simply search ‘ChelseaFCW' on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!The match is also being broadcast live on BT Sport and coverage begins from 2pm.