Preview: Chelsea head into London Derby on Champions League high

Kingsmeadow, Kingston, England, Ann-Katrin Berger 30 Chelsea made a first half penalty save during the UEFA Womens Champions League Round of 16 1st leg match between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid at Cherry Red Records Stadium, Kingsmeadow, Kingston. UWCL - Chelsea and Atletico Madrid PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxBRA

After a nail-biting clash with Atlético Madrid, Chelsea are fiercer opponents than ever. They will next face East London rivals West Ham, hoping to bag another three points and maintain their position atop the Women’s Super League table.

The Blues are in great form, having exhibited not only their technical ability but also strategy and teamwork under pressure. Going down to ten players after 12 minutes forced Emma Hayes’ side to quickly reconfigure under the leadership of vice captain Millie Bright.

Hayes praised her team’s demonstration of the club’s training philosophy, “Three words: discipline, structure, game-management.”

Fans will be anxious to see the return of skipper Magdalena Eriksson, who sat out of Wednesday’s action due to an injury picked up in training. The consequences of Sophie Ingle’s red card will also be reflected in changes to the weekend’s lineup.

After such an eventful mid-week game, the Blues might hope for a more predictable spar with the Irons. Their track record in this fixture is excellent. Chelsea have yet to ever be beaten by the East London side, who currently sit just above the bottom of the league table.

That said, the Blues’ recent loss to Brighton and Hove Albion has proven that Hayes is right not to let her team get complacent.

She said: “It will be tough, really tough. The new manager is running them hard and developing a very aggressive unit that will be tough to break down.”

West Ham approach the game on the back foot, having secured their last league win back in December. However, the new year brought new management under Norwegian Olli Harder, who looks to drive his team forward.

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