Match Preview

WSL: Chelsea v Manchester City

The two titans come together in a fixture that has the potential to cause upset to the top of the Women’s Super League table

Girls on the Ball


4 February 2022

The last time the two sides met was in a WSL match last November in which City suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat. In fact, Chelsea are unbeaten in each of their last nine WSL meetings with Manchester City. Over recent weeks however, City have been on an upward trajectory, appearing increasingly revitalised with each returnee. Both Chelsea and Manchester City played and won midweek Conti Cup semi-final games this week beating Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. The Conti Cup final will take place on Saturday 5th March at AFC Wimbledon’s Cherry Red Records Stadium and will surprisingly serve as the first final in which the two sides have met.

Home Team

Chelsea are currently second in WSL with 25 points, four behind Arsenal, but with a game in hand. The Blues have suffered one defeat and one draw against lower ranked sides in previous five WSL games, yet they will approach this match with confidence after dominant performances in recent FA Cup and Conti Cup rounds. 

Defender Maren Mjelde is unlikely to feature as she is still in the process of slowly coming back after sustaining a nasty knee injury last March. Striker Sam Kerr has returned to London after Australia were knocked out of the Asia Cup. Despite suffering a heavy blow from Manchester United goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley on Wednesday and a hectic travel schedule, boss Emma Hayes confirmed that Kerr is likely to be available to play. 

Midfielder Ji So-yun will not be present as she is still competing in the Asia Cup and captain Magda Eriksson remains out with injury. Hayes is expecting a tough game this weekend noting the difference between the City from their last meeting to the City that are now rapidly picking up points is that “there are two confident team’s playing each other this time”. She went on to state that City are "absolutely" still in with a chance of winning the title.

The Oppositon

Manchester City are rising to the top after below par performances throughout the first half of their season. The Citizens are currently laying fifth with 20 points, below Tottenham Hotspur who have accumulated 21 points so far. City are going into this with strong footing having been unbeaten in their last five WSL games. 

City will be without captain Steph Houghton who has a “slight niggle” regarding her recovery from an achilles injury. They will also be without Chloe Kelly, Esme Morgan and Janine Beckie. Striker Ellen White should be available to start after spending some time out with a knock. Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck has returned from her long-term calf injury and will be fit to play Sunday’s fixture. 

Reflecting on the last meeting between the two sides in, boss Gareth Taylor said,

 “in terms of where we were, we’re in a much healthier place. In the way we’re playing, the way we’re winning games and also with the health of the squad.” 

He also insisted that City have "never stopped chasing the title” in the “unpredictable title race this season”.

Gareth Taylor Man City_edited.jpg

Girls on the Ball

Ones to Watch....

For Chelsea, Pernille Harder has been in top form recently, proving herself as an elusive figure in every aspect of play. Harder made light work of Manchester United’s defence on Wednesday, a defence that had not conceded a goal in over 630 minutes. Harder has taken up the centre forward role in Sam Kerr’s absence, however it is likely that she may fill a wider position should Kerr start on Sunday. In either case Harder’s tendency to drift out to the left will mean she will find herself up against fullback Lucy Bronze. A tasty match-up if ever we’ve seen one. 

Alex Greenwood is one to watch for the visitors. The former left back has taken up a central position this season and has adapted considerably well to this more defensive role. Greenwood is a notable ball player and this is where Chelsea will need to be careful. The England international is able to break lines with single passes that typically start attacking phases for City. Greenwood is also stellar set piece taker and could prove to be very dangerous indeed if City draw fouls in risky areas.

How to Watch

The match kicks off at 12:30pm (GMT) on Sunday 6th February and will be shown live on BBC Two with coverage from 12:15pm. For viewers outside of the UK the match will be streamed live on the FA Player.