Chelsea vs Reading Women's Super League preview: team news, predicted line-ups, ones to watch and how to watch
Photo by Marc Atkins - Getty Images

Chelsea have topped the Women's Super League table for much of the season, but with just two points between them and second placed Manchester City - a win over Reading at Kingsmeadow will be crucial to them ultimately lifting the trophy.

Sunday's fixture comes swiftly after the Blues intense Champion's League victory over Bayern Munich and a mid-week 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Chelsea will be looking to push through any potential fatigue issues.

Manager Emma Hayes is treating the game as a must-win for the Blues. In conversation with Sky Sports, she said: "It'll be a cup final for us and I'll approach it as such. We have to win the game."

Reading have battled through inconsistent performances for much of the season. Despite this, the Royals sit comfortably with a guaranteed sixth or seventh place overall.

The game will mark the final appearance for Fara Williams, who announced her retirement from professional football at the end of the current season.

Speaking to Get Reading, coach Kelly Chambers praised Williams who holds the status of being England's most capped player: "She has been a huge part of this club over the past four seasons. She has still had the hunger and desire to improve as a player."

Chambers knows her team have a significant challenge in front of them against Chelsea. She added: "We have to perform to get a result against a Chelsea side fighting for the title."

  • Team News

Emma Hayes has a plethora of riches to choose from heading into Sunday's match. The introduction of Jess Carter at right-back in place of the injured Maren Mjelde has revitalised certain aspects of Chelsea's game. The return of captain Magdalena Eriksson from a brief injury will also likely be key to Chelsea's overall confidence and control of Sunday's game.

Fara Williams will bow out of playing in the Women's Super League on Sunday and after a classic penalty spot goal in last weeks clash with Brighton & Hove Albion, she will likely be a priority for finishing potential chances.

Sunday will also see Angharad James hang up her Royals shirt as she prepares to join the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL. The Welsh international will join the club in time for the beginning of the regular season later this month.

  • Predicted Line-Ups

Chelsea: Mušović (GK), Bright, Eriksson, Ingle, Leupolz, Reiten, Carter, Ji, England, Cuthbert, Harder.

Reading: Moloney (GK), Woodham, Harries, Bartrip, Flores, James, Williams, Rowe, Harding, Eikeland, Carter.

  • Ones To Watch

The arrival of Jess Carter into Chelsea's starting XI as been a revelation for the youngster who initially struggled for playing time in such an experienced side. Dropping in for Mjelde at right-back was always going to be a huge ask, but Carter has battled her way to become a real threat both defensively and when it comes to creating chances for her team-mates.

Grace Moloney has had her mettle seriously tested this season and has often saved Reading at the 11th hour on numerous occasions. The young keeper will need to retain her ice cool focus against the likes of Pernille Harder and Bethany England.

  • Previous Meetings

The reverse fixture at the Madejski Stadium resulted in an emphatic 5-0 win for Chelsea, with Fran Kirby registering  perfect hat-trick plus an additional goal for good measure. 

Former Royal Kirby put the Blues ahead just six minutes in, with no let up in pressure throughout the 90 minutes. Ji So-Yun tapped in the fifth in the closing stages to cement Chelsea's victory.

Reading have been unable to cope with consistent pressure this season and Sunday's fixture will be a true test of their development in the latter stages of the season.

  • How To Watch

The match will kick-off at 14:30PM (GMT) at Kingsmeadow and will be able to watch on BT Sport in the UK.

USA, Italy and Germany: Atafootball

Elsewhere: The FA Player

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