Chelsea FC Women manager Emma Hayes described this weekend’s visit to Manchester City as a ‘chess’ match as the top two go head-to-head in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Sunday.
The Blues trail City by a point going in to Sunday’s game, with Hayes’ side also having a game in hand on our rivals, while Arsenal are two points further back in third.Chelsea are unbeaten this season and have a Continental Tyres League Cup final against Arsenal to look forward to on Saturday 29 February, but before then the Blues will be aiming for a first-ever win at Manchester City under Hayes’ stewardship.The last time the two sides met it was Chelsea who triumphed 2-1 and the Blues boss expects another tight, cagey affair in the next instalment of the rivalry.‘We call this game a chess match, it is highly tactical, there isn’t a lot between the teams and neither team give away a lot either,’ she said.
‘There is lots of pride but it is different to playing Arsenal, it is less emotional, and because of that it’s a high-thinking game.‘The key going to City, who have a very good home record, is to stay in the game and too often we’ve been chasing the game so I urge the players to make it really difficult for City to gain a foothold in the match.‘Players will tell you they love playing the top teams because when you do they come out and they come at you and we know City will do that and aim to consolidate their position in the league.‘We are two opponents who know each other very well, so there isn’t a lot to learn it will come down to executes their game plan better on the day,’ Hayes continued.
Read: Man City v Chelsea preview
The Blues go in to the match unbeaten this season and aiming for a tenth successive win in all competitions.For Hayes maintaining that momentum is key, but despite the impressive run, the Blues boss admits our performance levels will need to improve if they are to come away from Manchester top of the league and with three points in the bag.‘When you are in good form you have to build on the momentum,’ she added. ‘To be honest our performances have been mixed in the last couple of games as we’ve played teams that sit deep in their own half.‘I want to make sure the team provide a higher level of performance than I’ve seen from us recently if we are going to go up there and win for the first time since I’ve been here.‘Man City have been a top team for many, many years and there really is very little between the two sides.‘Only the players know why it has been so hard to beat them but this is the most consistent performing Chelsea team since I have been here and I think we’ve been able to grind results out even when not at our best.’Tickets for the Blues’ Continental Tyres League Cup final versus Arsenal are still available. The match takes place at Nottingham Forests City Ground and kicks off at a later time of 5.30pm.
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Chelsea will next be at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 22 March where we host Everton in the WSL at 2pm.