Chelsea prepare for WSL battle with Birmingham

ann-katrin-berger-chelsea

Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea will play their ninth game in just 32 days. They will play a Birmingham City side who haven’t won since November.

On paper it should be an easy victory for the champions. However, having such a hectic schedule including travelling back from Budapest this week, Chelsea will most likely rotate their squad.

Birmingham are unlikely to make too many changes given the size of their squad. They are still not safe from relegation and will be keen to keep their negative goal difference at a respectable level.

Chelsea are looking to extend their lead at the top of the WSL table. The midlanders will look to frustrate the league leaders for as long as possible.

Previous Battles of the Blues

The teams last met in October when Chelsea were narrow 1-0 victors. Scotland captain Rachel Corsie partnered brilliantly with Georgia Brougham at the back to keep the visitors at bay. A sole Fran Kirby goal was enough to split the sides.

Last season Chelsea beat Brum home and away including a 6-0 drubbing in Solihull. This contrasts to two years ago when Birmingham famously beat Emma Hayes side at Kingsmeadow 3-2 thanks to an Ellen White last minute volley.

Ones to watch

Chelsea

Naturally, Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr are grabbing all the headlines lately. The duo’s goalscoring heroics earning them the nickname “Kerrby”.

The pair have scored 11 goals between them in the Blues last five games. Several of those goals coming from assists provided by the other player. Hayes is quoted as saying the duo are “telepathic” in their ability to pick each other out without looking.

Chelsea have many star players but someone who has gone under the radar until recently is Jess Carter. Carter has hardly played since signing for Chelsea, but in recent games she’s been outstanding at right back.

Birmingham City

Carla Ward has a very small squad of contract players. She’s had to utilise the loan market and this includes two players from Hayes’ Blues.

Jamie-Lee Napier had a very impressive game last time out against Bristol City. She made some penetrating runs down the left wing and was involved in much of the play. Napier will be looking to impress against her parent club.

Another more recent Chelsea loanee is Emily Murphy. She is another winger or can exchange places with Claudia Walker to provide an up front attacking presence.

Predicted line-ups

Chelsea: Musovic, Carter; Bright, Ericsson, Blundell, Ingle, Kirby, Charles, Leupolz, Kerr, Reiten

Birmingham City: Hampton; Scott, Brougham, Mace, Holloway, Murray, Mayling, Littlejohn, Murphy, Walker, Napier

Where to watch

The match has been switched to an early kick-off to cater for it being shown on the BBC Red Button service. Kick-off is 12.30pm on Sunday, April 4th and the match is also live on the FA Player.

MORE from Her Football Hub: