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Beth England scoring the winning goal in Chelsea 2–1 win over Arsenal.

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Talking points as top-two clash in the Women’s Super League

Once more the stage is set, as Chelsea and Arsenal clash in a fixture that will define this year’s Women’s Super League. 

Already this season, the London rivals have met twice, and, with one win a-piece, Friday night’s clash looks set to be another classic. 

Here are our talking points…

Will Chelsea’s boss Emma Hayes show her class once more?

What is clear about Hayes is that she hates losing, and compared to last year’s heroics, the Chelsea boss will be the first to admit their campaign started poorly.

An early exit in the UEFA Women’s Champions League group-stage concluded a poor run of form, where the Blues also lost to Reading.

Still, Chelsea were quick to turn things around. 

Last Sunday, a professional Hayes-esc win over Manchester City has put Chelsea back in the driving seat. 

The Blues are in form heading into this tie, and Arsenal should be worried.

If Chelsea win, they go top, with a game in hand over their London rivals. 

The pressure is on for the Gunners. 

Can Arsenal improve from their Wembley annihilation?

In December, Chelsea met Arsenal in the re-arranged FA Cup Final from last season.

It was as one-sided a final as any, with Chelsea showing their class as Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby netted in a 3-0 win. 

That day, Arsenal were without Leah Williamson, and their most important defensive player could miss Friday’s match after she was absent against Manchester United due to injury. 

Questions were asked as Jonas Eidevall’s set-up at Wembley saw Arsenal not only offer little in attack, but also hardly any defensive resistance as Chelsea took them apart. 

After the match, he told BBC One: “We don’t feel good now, it’s a bad performance from us and it’s something we have to learn from.

“We also committed way too many mistakes today as a team.”

Notably, Arsenal have struggled in recent weeks, and it will be interesting to see how the boss reshuffles the side to cope with Chelsea. 

Eidevall will also be without Katie McCabe, who was sent off as Arsenal ground out a 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

He hopes that Lotte Wubben-Moy will make a return after she missed the last match with a knock. 

How will Chelsea benefit from a bouncing Kingsmeadow?

The Blues announced that consecutive league matches at Kingsmeadow Stadium were sold out earlier this week.

There is no doubt the players will benefit from that positive atmosphere when they take on Arsenal on Friday night. 

In such a crucial clash, home-advantage could play a huge part, and Arsenal will need all their experienced players to stand up if they are to cause an upset in south west London. 

In October 2018, Arsenal hit five without reply at Chelsea, with Vivianne Miedema and Jordan Nobbs scoring twice. 

Any repeat of such heroics seems unlikely though, considering the form of both sides.

But despite their early season dominance tailing off, Arsenal have enough talent to spoil the Chelsea party. 

Last time out, January signing Stina Blackstenius hit her first Women’s Super League goal, as she ran onto a beautiful pass from Miedema to mark her debut with an equaliser against Manchester United. 

Chelsea’s defence will prove to be a different test, however.

SWL’s prediction

Make no mistake, it’s going to be a tough match for Arsenal.

The Gunner’s performances over the last few weeks show that a fixture pile-up might be taking its toll on a squad, who clearly lack depth compared to Chelsea abundant resources.

As such, the Blues should win at Kingsmeadow, and they could do it rather comfortably. 

Arsenal might grab a consolation goal, but Hayes’ side will take a victory that could go a long way to determine the WSL title.

SWL’s prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (Cuthbert, Kerr, Harder, Blackstenius)

The match is live on Sky Sports, with kick-off at 7.45pm on Friday. There is also radio commentary on 5 Live Extra.

Featured Image credit: Katie Chan

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