Sunday’s matchup features two teams coming off of different situations in the league. Chelsea are currently top the FA Women’s Super League with 26 points, on the other hand, Bristol City sit in last place with only 2 points.
The game kicks off at Twerton Park (Bath) at 2 pm (GMT).
Bristol City are having a complicated season in FA WSL, where they have lost nine matches and drawn two. Their first match of 2021 resulted in a 4-0 defeat to Everton.
It was also the Robins’ first game under Matthews Beard, who has taken temporary charge until the end of the season while Tanya Oxtoby is on maternity leave. They have taken only one point from the last five games, scoring just two goals and conceding nineteen goals in the process.
However, they beat Aston Villa 2-1 in the Conti Cup quarter-finals and will face Leicester City in the next round.
Matt Beard said on Bristol City website that it will be a tough game but he believes Bristol can stay in the top league: “We’re going to be up against it, so we’re going to have to work hard as well as focus on ourselves. If we look after the ball a lot better than we have been then we give ourselves a better chance.”
Bristol City are missing three players from their starting lineup, due to a COVID-19 outbreak that has seen Carla Humphrey and Sophie Baggally test positive for the virus and Jemma Purfield isolate with caution.
Chelsea, who defeated Manchester City on Wednesday in the Conti Cup, will face West Ham United in the semifinals of the competition. If Chelsea win tomorrow, they will break the Women’s Super League record for the longest unbeaten streak of 32 games.
Chelsea, however, currently sit unbeaten at the top of the table on 26 points from 10 games. Chelsea have also won 4 out of the last 5 WSL games, scoring 12 and conceding only 4 goals.
Predicted Line Ups
Bristol City: Haaland (GK); Allen, Palmer, Evans, Bryson; Rafferty, Logarzo, Bissell, Daniels; Salmon, Wellings. Coach: Matt Beard
Chelsea: Berger (GK); Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson; Reiten, Ingle; Kirby, Harder, Charles, England. Coach: Emma Hayes
Bristol and Chelsea have met sixteen times before; The Blues have won 12 matches, the Robins have won twice and the pair have drawn twice. The last meeting this season, when Chelsea won by an emphatic 9-0 scoreline, thanks to nine different scorers (Francesca Kirby, Maren Mjelde, Melanie Leupolz, Erin Cuthbert, Millie Bright, Bethany England, Niamh Charles and Pernille Harder)
Matt Beard has already faced the Blues in this WSL last December as manager of West Ham, and almost won at Kingsmeadow. It was close matchup, with The Blues running out as 3-2 winners, with a Samantha Kerr hat trick, Rachel Daly goal and a own goal from Magdalena Eriksson.
Ones to Watch
Our Bristol City highlight is Ebony Salmon. She has scored seven goals in seven starts, in all competitions, emphasising why she has become very important for the Robins.
The English forward is always ready to pounce on the counter attack. Furthermore, the goalkeeper, Benedicte Haaland, has impressed in recent matches.
At Chelsea, Fran Kirby is doing a great job since her return in December, she has scored seven times and assisted one goal.
Her integral performances are the catalyst for the impressive performnaces for the Chelsea midfielders. In addition, the duo, Pernille Harder and Kerr, have also combined for 12 goals and 8 assists in 14 matches.
Lastly, Niamh Charles had a fantastic game last Wednesday against Manchester City and can be suitable replacement for Cuthbert.