Preview: Chelsea vs Arsenal

The two London giants will go head-to-head in their second meeting of the season at Chelsea’s home ground of Kingsmeadow.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal come into this game having lost their previous matches. The Blues suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat to a defensively minded Brighton & Hove Albion. Arsenal, a heavy 2-1 loss to a momentum baring Manchester City.

Chelsea’s 33 league game unbeaten run came to an end after a respectably solid performance from the Seagulls stopped them in their tracks. Chelsea boss Emma Hayes, opted for six changes to the previous line-up against Brighton, which included starts for Carly Telford, Hannah Blundell, Guro Reiten and Jessie Fleming. After an early goal from Sam Kerr and despite keeping the majority of possession throughout, the Blues were simply unable to break through Brighton’s wall of defence.

Arsenal restarted their campaign after weeks of postponements without the luxury of Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs or Jen Beattie in the squad after the three sustained injuries during training.  Nevertheless, the Gunners put up a resolved front against City as called upon captain, Leah Williamson led her team out for their first match in over three weeks. They held firm with Manuela Zinsberger pulling some nifty saves out of the locker and challenged with Caitlin Foord’s zesty second half equaliser.

The weekend’s results did not fare well for either of the London clubs, yet both retained their places in the table. Chelsea sit at the top with 32 points, a total matched with Manchester United, but with a game in hand. Arsenal are currently in fourth position with 23 points, seven points behind Manchester City, having played twelve games so far.

A game of importance awaits us with potentially title-winning points up for grabs. Make no mistake, this is a game of importance in points and in pride and both sides will be hungry for the win.

Keep an eye on…

Hayes will likely return to a slightly more robust line-up ahead of the clash with the possibility of using the blossoming forward partnership of Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby. The Kerr-Kirby link-up has been an essential element of Chelsea’s winning displays and is one you would expect to be utilised in a game of such standing.

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema continues to be a player to watch for the Gunners. The Dutch forward is renowned for her quality in front of goal and she has already racked up twelve league goals this season.  Midfielder, Lia Wälti’s influence on a game should also not be underestimated. Typically sitting deep within the middle third, Wälti is able to spring creativity with astute gameplay through the core of Arsenal’s formation.

Where to watch: 

The match will be streamed live on The FA Player and social media updates will be available via Chelsea and Arsenal’s Twitter feeds. Kick-off: 7pm. 

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