WSL 1 Week 8 Preview - Arsenal looking to dent Chelsea title bid

With just three WSL 1 fixtures this weekend, the attention will be firmly fixed on Chelsea's game with Arsenal.

WSL 1 Week 8 Preview - Arsenal looking to dent Chelsea title bid
Arsenal will be hoping to defeat WSL holders Chelsea at the weekend.

All of the talk when it's come to women's football this week has been about the FA's decision to move the WSL from a summer season to a winter campaign for 2017/18. It's fair to say the move has already had its fair share of both critics and plaudits but the talking will stop this weekend with the WSL continuing in earnest after an entertaining previous week. 

Eyes will be firmly fixed on the game at Wheatsheaf Park, as Champions Chelsea take on Arsenal on Sunday in what should be a very interesting encounter. Meanwhile Birmingham play Sunderland on the same day before Liverpool take on Notts County on Saturday.

The main attraction

This weekend will see one of the most fascinating match-ups in the WSL, as second placed Chelsea take on third place Arsenal in a repeat of this seasons FA Cup final. Emma Hayes' side missed the chance to overtake Man City last weekend after they drew 1-1 with Birmingham, but will again have the chance to go top on Sunday with the current leaders not featuring. 

Arsenal against Chelsea is always a brilliant game to watch, and the visitors will be doing all they can to put a dent in their rivals title bid, and maybe even make a late surge themselves after falling off the pace in the league so far this season.

Chelsea however will be without Katie Chapman who received a red card in the draw with Birmingham but they have plenty of able replacements in their squad that could replace the Blues' skipper. 

Arsenal meanwhile will be coming into the game off the back of a 2-0 win over Notts County after goals from Danielle van de Donk and Jordan Nobbs moved them up to third in the table. Pedro Martinez Losa's team haven't lost for seven games, a run that stretches back to the last time they faced Chelsea in the WSL where a double from Fran Kirby condemned them to a 2-0 defeat. 

Chelsea played Arsenal in this years FA Cup final | Photo source: Getty Images
Chelsea played Arsenal in this years FA Cup final | Photo source: Getty Images

Mid-table clash

Fifth placed Liverpool take on Notts County who lie in sixth place in the WSL this weekend as they battle for spoils behind the main pack in Division 1. Both teams are arguably evenly matched and should provide a great warm-up to the main event mentioned above. 

The Lady Pies have two games in hand over their Saturday opponents but will be looking for a morale boosting win as they hope to gain pace on the top four after their defeat against Arsenal. The arrivals of Jade Moore and Jo Potter from Birmingham have been timely, and they'll be hoping for an improved performance this time out against a Liverpool side who will be looking for revenge after losing to them 3-2 the last time the two teams met. 

However it will be tough for County who will be aiming to break down a side who have conceded just once in their previous six matches. Liverpool have been in good form, and come into the game off the back of a win over rivals Everton in the Continental Cup and a victory over  Reading in the league.

Birmingham looking to continue fine run

Sunderland, who will be hoping to avoid relegation face a stern test this weekend against Birmingham who have been excellent in the WSL this season by their standards. They did brilliantly to hold Chelsea to a draw in their last game and have also achieved draws with Arsenal on two occasions this season. They've conceded just five times in the league in 2016 and shows just how hard they have been to break down.

The visitors to Solihull this weekend therefore face a stiff task as they look to show the type of form that saw them beat Doncaster Rovers Belles 4-0 in their last outing. Beth Mead and co will find this game a lot tougher than that though, but they will be in good spirits after ending a torrid run without a win last weekend.