Matchweek 13 Preview: Title Challenge Heats up as Arsenal Host Chelsea

It’s matchweek 13 and all eyes are on Chelsea as they take on Women’s Super League leaders Arsenal.

The blockbuster clash between the two title contenders promises to be action-packed as they sit only four points apart in the table. Will the Blues be able to deny in-form Arsenal at Meadow Park this Sunday?

Birmingham City versus Manchester City – 12:00

A struggling Birmingham will host second-place Manchester City at Solihull in the first game of matchweek 13.

The home side will hope Man City’s recent news of manager Nick Cushing’s departure will have rocked their camp a little.

The Cityzens are three points behind leaders Arsenal and will be hoping for a stroll against tenth place Birmingham.

Pauline Bremer will be their biggest threat, having contributed seven goals in her last four league appearances.

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Birmingham have conceded 10 goals in their last five games. They also have the second lowest shot-conversion rate in the WSL this season (4.3%). The Blues have scored just five times from a total of 117 shots taken.

Only bottom of the table Liverpool have a worse conversion percentage with 2.4%.

However, despite the statistics, Birmingham’s gutsy 2-0 win over Bristol has lifted them away from danger for the time being.

With potential title favourites Arsenal taking on Chelsea, Sunday could be Man City’s chance to go level on points and pile on the pressure.

Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur – 12:00

A fan favourite – a clash of the promoted clubs. Manchester United’s usual fiery form has slipped over the last few weeks and Casey Stoney desperately wants to amend this.

The Red Devils got their debut WSL season off to a flying start, but following the Christmas break they’ve seemed to run out of gas a little.

Dominating the fourth place spot for a good chunk of the season, United have now slipped into sixth place. Spurs are one side to leapfrog ahead of them with Reading being the other.

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These two sides have met three times prior to Sunday’s fixture, with Man United winning all of them. Their championship clashes made up of a 4-1 home and 5-1 away win for United.

The reverse fixture in the WSL was a 3-0 victory in the Reds’ favour.

Odds predict United will once again win in a landslide, but Tottenham’s recent form says a tougher affair could be on the cards.

Arsenal versus Chelsea – 14:00

This title race battle will likely by the highlight of the weekend. League leaders Arsenal will host well-stacked Chelsea in hope to extend their three-point advantage at the top of the table.

Neither Vivianne Miedema or Sam Kerr have found the back of the net in 2020 as yet for their respective sides.

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Despite being in a stronger league position, Arsenal will hope history doesn’t repeat itself against Emma Hayes’ side. The Gunners have lost more games against Chelsea than any other club in WSL history.

Their seven defeats against the Blues could be on Arsenal’s mind, and with Miedema and Beth England the leading scorers in the league, we could be in for a goal-fest.

Everton versus Reading – 14:00

Only two points separate both sides as they prepare to lock horns in the WSL.

Everton have recruited well this window, adding England internationals Izzy Christiansen and Sandy Maciver to their ranks along with newest addition Hayley Raso.

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Despite their good window of business, the Toffees must put effort in containing Fara Williams. The England star has contributed seven points to Reading’s tally – through five goals and three assists.

Only Vivianne Miedema and Beth England have won more points via direct goal involvement.

Everton have two games in hand in total, meaning plenty of time to make up for any unwanted result on Sunday.

Bristol City versus Liverpool – 15:00

A clash almost as tense as the title race – the relegation battle. Bottom of the table Liverpool prepare to take on their relegation rivals matchweek 13.

The Vixens are just three points ahead of Liverpool, meaning a win for the Reds would be gargantuan. However, Tanya Oxtoby has invested heavily in new recruits, with three coming this weekend alone.

New signings Jeon Ga-eul, Megan Wynne and Faye Bryson were all announced on Saturday and will bolster Bristol’s chances of avoiding the drop.

Although Liverpool have won more WSL matches against Bristol than any other side they’ve faced, the thorn in their side will be Ebony Salmon.

The teenager has scored in her last two games for the Vixens and is their top scorer. She also scored in the reverse fixture at Prenton Park.

West Ham versus Brighton & Hove Albion – 15:00

The final fixture of matchweek 13 also promises to be an exciting affair as these two sides have just one point separating them, with West Ham in eighth place and Brighton just behind.

Brighton were arguably one of the favourites for relegation at the start of the campaign. However, they’ve pulled away from the drop-zone scramble and are now six points ahead of last-placed Liverpool.

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Last season, Brighton ran out winners over the Hammers in this exact fixture after netting four goals and keeping a clean sheet.

A loss won’t put either side in any serious danger, however if the bottom three can perform well as the season goes by, the point deficit could creep up on them.