WSL 1 - Week 7 Preview: Big games ahead for Manchester City and Chelsea
This week's round of fixtures include some fascinating ties | Photo: VAVEL UK

There are five games in this week's WSL 1 Spring Series, with second and third facing each other in a period of matches that could potentially see where the title is won and lost.

Manchester City face Chelsea in an eagerly anticipated clash on Thursday, before the pair face more tough games against Arsenal and Liverpool respectively. Meanwhile Reading take on Birmingham and Sunderland travel to Yeovil.

Spring Series favourites square off

The winner of Man City vs Chelsea this week could well determine where the title ends up come the end of the Spring Series. Liverpool are top for the time being, but with the two teams directly below having games in hand, the Reds have a chance of being caught.

City however will be without Carli Lloyd who is now suspended for three of the last four games. Her suspension comes after elbowing Yeovil's Annie Heatherson in the head at the weekend. The loss of Lloyd though could suit Nick Cushing's team, who have arguably looked better when the American hasn't been in the side.

Chelsea of course have their own USWNT star in the form of Crystal Dunn, and she will be looking to put a dent in City's title ambitions.

The Blues have scored an incredible 19 goals in their four WSL games this season, which included a 7-0 win over Sunderland at the weekend. City meanwhile beat Yeovil 5-1. The game on Thursday though should provide a more equal match-up, but Chelsea will be looking for revenge following their last meeting, when City beat them to the 2016 WSL title.

Tough week continues for City and Chelsea

Man City and Chelsea's week shows no signs of slowing down after they face each other, with the pair welcoming Arsenal and Liverpool to their respective grounds at the weekend.

Arsenal's Spring Series so far has been an intriguing one to monitor, and a real test of where some of their young players are at will come on Sunday. The Gunners decision to field a number of development players has been interesting, and its meant they've conceded quite a few goals already; nine in five games.

They are however still unbeaten following a 4-2 win over Birmingham last weekend. Goals from Heather O'Reilly, Danielle van de Donk and a double from recent addition Louise Quinn was enough despite going behind early on. If Arsenal are to have any chance of beating City though, they'll need to be more organised at the back.

As for Liverpool, their game against Chelsea should be an entertaining one given the two side's form in the Spring Series so far. The Reds ambitions of winning it though suffered a set back in their last game, drawing 1-1 with Bristol City as Kate Longhurst was sent off. That means she'll miss the game against her former team, as Liverpool look to get their campaign back on track.

Chelsea haven't conceded many this season, but in Caroline Weir, their opposition on Sunday have a player capable of causing most teams problems.

Mid-table and bottom of the league clashes

Fifth plays sixth this weekend as Reading welcome Marc Skinner's Birmingham to Adams Park on Sunday. Both team's form in the Spring Series has been inconsistent but that has been down to games with the bigger clubs. The Royals have lost to Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City but have won their other two games, 3-1 against Bristol and 1-0 over Yeovil last week.

Birmingham have meanwhile won just once but will see Reading as a game they can take points from, in the hope of bouncing back from their defeat to Arsenal last time out. The signing of Rachel Williams has bolstered their squad nicely, and she scored twice in that loss against the Gunners.

The teams below them are also in action with bottom of the table Yeovil facing seventh placed Sunderland. This season has proved a steep learning curve for the Glovers, and they are yet to win a game since being promoted. A 5-1 defeat to City will be tough to bounce back from, but so will Sunderland's heavy defeat against Chelsea.

The Lady Black Cats were unbeaten in their first three games, which included a draw with Arsenal and win over Bristol, but since then they have conceded 11 goals in just two matches. Yeovil will present them with a more equal challenge, but they will need to start finding the net if they are to secure a second win, after scoring only once this season.