Emma Hayes is relishing the challenge of tomorrow night’s big game at the Bridge, even if it is one she is facing with as long an injury list as she can remember at Chelsea.

The meeting with Arsenal will be her final Women’s Super League match in the stadium as the Blues manager. It will also be her last league encounter with the Gunners. There is still a cup final against Jonas Eidevall’s side to come at the end of this month, but the first of the fixtures is the one currently taking up all the attention.

‘I know, having been here for the length of time I have, the importance of the rivalry with our neighbours,’ said Hayes.

‘Of course, both teams want to win but I'm always excited about the growth around the game itself so I'm looking forward to a packed crowd.

‘I know how much effort has gone into that off the pitch from so many different departments to get us to that place. I really hope we capitalise on that because that's something that our rivals Arsenal have done really well off the pitch.

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‘When it comes to on the pitch, Jonas and I have played against each other plenty of times and I'll miss these games, that's for sure. I enjoy them. I'm looking forward to it.’

It is not only London pride that is at stake tomorrow night. Arsenal are currently three points behind the top-two sides in the WSL table. Chelsea lead Manchester City on goal difference alone.

In the reverse meeting with the Gunners at the Emirates in December, they ran out 4-1 winners. Following that extremely rare heavy defeat, Chelsea have won five league games and lost just one. Hayes looks back to that game in north London.

‘We were bullied. We were second best to almost everything. We deserved to be on the losing end that day – and by that scoreline. I will not accept a performance less than a Chelsea standard, no matter who plays for us tomorrow night.

‘I absolutely can accept losing, how you lose is another matter and the players are aware of that. When it comes to the expectations from a performance perspective, the players absolutely know what they have to do.

‘When you play for this football club, as long as the performance is there, as long as all of the things that we sign up to when we put this badge on are there, then I can semi-live with it.

'I expect a Chelsea performance at a Chelsea standard. I cannot control the opponent but I absolutely will do everything to influence my own players.’

On the injury front, Hayes reported that in addition to our long-term absentees, Mayra Ramirez, Nathalie Bjorn, Maren Mjelde and Ann-Katrin Berger are ruled out. Fran Kirby, who would make her 200th Chelsea appearance should she play, is a doubt and Lauren James has been sick this week.

‘The game accumulation has taken its toll,’ lamented Hayes. ‘These players have to play all year round internationally. However, the team that are playing deserve huge credit because we've been able to maintain this position knowing we have had a pretty horrific time with injury.

‘But it doesn't matter who you are when you put that shirt on, I expect a certain level, regardless of who's absent from the team.

‘From the players that we have I want 1,000 per cent. I want the crowd to be a big factor for us tomorrow and I expect a performance of the standard that's befitting of this badge.’