Manchester City Women renew their rivalry with Chelsea this weekend as the blue girls travel to Kingsmeadow to face the champions.
Both teams lost their opening fixtures last weekend, with the blues losing 4-3 at Aston Villa, while Emma Hayes side were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by newly promoted Liverpool. It was Chelsea’s second successive defeat on the season’s opening day, while City hadn’t lost their opening WSL fixture since 2016.
The blues faced off against the west London side five times last season, with the blues winning just once and losing the other four. Chelsea will be hoping to keep that run going on Sunday afternoon as they seek their first three points of the season.
Alanna Kennedy may be in contention for a place in the City team for Sunday’s visit after missing last weekend’s defeat due to injury. Steph Houghton returned to the side after recovering from injury to partner Alex Greenwood in the heart of City’s defence at Villa Park, but manager Gareth Taylor may look to the Australian to steady the blues defence. However, it is likely he will select the same side (and tactics) again.
Chelsea may be without Pernille Harder for the visit of the blues, with Hayes not committing to an answer of whether she will be available.
Gareth Taylor claimed he wasn’t surprised by Liverpool’s shock 2-1 win over Chelsea last weekend. The champions opened the scoring with a penalty, but two penalties for the Mersey reds took the points.
“I wasn’t surprised that Liverpool got something out of the game [against Chelsea]. We played them in pre-season and they’re a tough outfit. Same with Aston Villa, a completely different team from last season, lots of changes and when those players play well, anyone can beat anyone.
“There’s no change in that respect. For us, we know it’s going to be a really tough game, it’s their first home game but we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ll hopefully show a better version of ourselves without the ball this time.”
And, speaking ahead of City’s match at Kingsmeadow, Taylor says the blues are looking forward to facing the champions in their own backyard. “It’s one that the players are looking forward to. Regardless of the team we pick, we’re expecting a good level and will try to make it difficult for Chelsea on their own patch but also show our best version with the ball.”
City struggled against Villa last weekend and it’s difficult to see anything but a Chelsea win. However, I can never put City to lose any match, so I’m going for a hopeful 1-1 draw.