Chelsea Ladies v Manchester City Women @ Manchester Sportcity
Sunday October 12 @ 2pm
Chelsea travel to Manchester on Sunday hoping to be crowned league champions as the FA Women’s Super League comes to a thrilling climax.
Goalkeeper Marie Hourihan admits losing both the FA Cup and Continental Cup semi-finals is extra motivation to win the league.
The Blues came agonisingly close last weekend, only to be denied by a late Birmingham City goal which saw the West Midlands team beat Manchester City 2-1.
Chelsea, who have never finished higher than sixth in the Women’s Super League, will now play City knowing a win will see them clinch their first league title and complete a remarkable transformation for a team which finished second bottom last season.
However, any slip up would allow second-placed Birmingham and third-placed Liverpool a chance as the title goes down to the wire.
Chelsea need to be wary of a City team which knocked them out of the Continental Cup last month.
Hourihan said: “Losing in the Continental Cup semi-final and also the semi-final of the FA Cup was hard to take and it does give you motivation to not want to be in a losing position again.”
Toni Duggan scored the winner for City in the Continental Cup and the England striker, who has scored twice already against Chelsea this season, is likely to pose a significant threat to Hourihan.
“They have some very strong players and they will want to finish the season strongly,” she said.
Last time the two teams met in the league in July, it took a 90th minute goal by Chelsea to beat City 2-1.
19-year-old Jackie Groenen scored the winner for the Blues and the Dutch-born attacking midfielder is one of several new players who joined the team this season as part of a squad overhaul by manager Emma Hayes.
The signings have proved to be pivotal in Chelsea’s pursuit of the league and has enabled them to be transformed from league strugglers to league leaders in the space of a season.
Hourihan said: “People seem to forget that we were second bottom last season, it’s been a massive transitional for the club, we have brought in a lot of players but for them to gel so quickly has been brilliant.”
If Hayes, who is the only female manager in the WSL top division, guides them to the title on Sunday, Chelsea will have another ‘special one’.
Star player: Katie Chapman
Danger player: Toni Duggan
Feature picture of Emma Hayes