This match on Wednesday between Chelsea Women and Tottenham Hotspur Ladies at Kingsmeadow is the hosts’ opportunity to climb to the top of the Women’s Super League for the first time this season.
The Blues currently sit two points behind leaders Arsenal Women but have a game in hand on the Gunners, which is this encounter with Spurs, who themselves need to pick up three points to remain in the race for a top-three finish.
Emma Hayes’s side have been chasing Arsenal from the opening day, when the Gunners secured an early advantage by beating Chelsea at the Emirates, but victory after victory for the reigning champions means that the title is now in their hands.
A comfortable 3-0 victory against Everton in their last league match came about after first-half strikes from Samantha Kerr, Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert.
The hosts enter this clash directly from booking a place in the FA Cup semi-final, after demolishing Birmingham City 5-0 thanks to goals from Magdalena Eriksson, Drew Spence, Niamh Charles and a brace from Bethany England.
Wednesday’s outing is certain to not be as easy but Hayes’s side are unbeaten on home soil this season, winning seven out of eight matches in West London, during which time they have conceded just one goal.
Arsenal only have to play one team from the current top five in their remaining matches this year, while Chelsea have three fixtures against the top sides; however, with the Gunners still competing in the Champions League, this period of fixtures may be what Chelsea have been waiting for all season.
Spurs must put together a strong string of results in their last six matches if they are to finish in third spot, currently needing to make up a four-point gap to Manchester United.
Rehanne Skinner’s side are significantly the lowest scorers out of the top five, having netted 19 goals in 16 matches, compared to the next lowest total of 33 goals from Manchester City.
That depletion in attack has shown in Tottenham’s last two outings, having not scored during that time, with their most recent result being their first defeat on home soil this campaign.
Over one week ago on Sunday, Skinner’s side lost 1-0 against Man City courtesy of Caroline Weir’s 64th-minute strike, which moved the Citizens about the Lilywhites in the table, and could prove to be a costly defeat for Spurs.
Despite being so late in the season, this will be the first meeting between these two teams and they will have to face each other again in a month’s time.
Chelsea Women Women’s Super League form:
Chelsea Women form (all competitions):
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies Women’s Super League form:
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies form (all competitions):
We say: Chelsea Women 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
After some poor attacking displays from Spurs in their last couple of games, it is hard to see where they can penetrate Chelsea’s strong defence, which is why the hosts are likely to keep a clean sheet.
Chelsea know the importance of this game by the fact that three points will take them top of the league with five games to go, and they are not expected to let an opportunity like this pass them by.