And a happy birthday to Arsenal and England legend Alex Scott! The former full-back is on TV duty in Spain but via the medium of Twitter has informed everyone she will be watching events this afternoon…
We have an Arsenal team…
Two changes from the win over West Ham with Lisa Evans and Beth Mead replacing Louis Quinn and Katie McCabe, who both drop to the bench. Could be a shift to a 4-3-3 with Mead and Van de Donk either side of Miedema… we shall see.
Arsenal: Peyraud-Magnin, Evans, Williamson, Bloodworth, Mitchell, Walti, Little, Nobbs, van de Donk, Mead, Miedema; Subs: Van Veenendaal, McCabe, Quinn, Samuelsson, Kuyken
Good afternoon everybody
A soggy Kingsmeadow plays host to the fourth derby between these teams this year, with Chelsea having won twice (including the FA Cup final) with one draw. There is still a long old way to go in the Super League – seven months and 16 games – but today’s encounter could be a pivotal game in the overall context of the season. After three wins from three and 16 goals scored, by full-time we should have a better idea of just how good this league-leading Arsenal side are. They were severely tested last time out by West Ham, edging the game 4-3 and Chelsea represent another step up in quality. Striker Vivianne Miedema (four goals, three assists) and midfielders Kim Little (three goals, three assists) and Danielle van de Donk (three goals, one assist) have been among the WSL’s best individual performers but will have to work hard to trouble a Chelsea defence boasting seven successive clean sheets in all competitions.
The other side of the coin is whether or not Chelsea have addressed their early season attacking issues in which they opened the campaign with three goalless draws on the bounce. That was significantly caveated by the fact resources and focus was noticeably shifted towards the Champions League tie with SFK 2000, and 11 goals scored against the Bosnian side over two legs indicates it was only a matter of time before Fran Kirby and co. found their domestic shooting boots. However, with the first leg of their last 16 tie against Fiorentina looming on Wednesday night plus strikers Kirby and Ramona Bachmann among those heavily involved over the international break, will Emma Hayes be tempted to rest any of her stars, or at least be mindful of potential fatigue? The fact the Blues head coach has been (and rightfully so) talking up the strength in depth of her squad hints at a few changes … then again, it *is* a derby.
Kick-off is at 2pm