Chelsea v Manchester City: Women’s Super League – live | Women’s Super League

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Key events

38 min: Lauren Hemp embodies City’s half by running back to clear the danger from a Lawrence overload…oh dear, Shaw is down after an aerial duel she wins.

36 min: Shaw, who was supposed to be carrying a knock, drops deep and powers along. What a game she’s having. The problem was she ended up with no forward to link with.

34 min: Ooof. Fran Kirby, coming in from the right, seemed likely to net only for her space to be closed down by Keating.

33 min: Charles Antaki gets in touch: “Terrific stuff so far, but it’s disappointing that the game has been short changed by cut-price television coverage: there seems to be just the one camera low-down on halfway, with the players disappearing into the murk when there’s any sort of goalmouth action. I know the BBC is a bit strapped for cash these days, but they could afford something a bit more in keeping with the two best teams in the WSL.”

Would guess Kingsmeadow is not easy to set up at. Still, the excellent Robyn Cowen is doing a good job on the mic.

32 min: The Chelsea fans barracking the referee, and their team getting annoyed, too, mostly because their team is not having things anything like their own way.

The Chelsea fans are not happy with the ref. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

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30 min: Chelsea want a penalty. Ramirez speeds on and on, and Greenwood slides in, taking down the forward. That looked doubtful. Ramirez fell over even before Greenwood had come close. Hmm. No VAR so we go on.

29 min: Ball pinged into Shaw but she just fails to get to it. The City top scorer has been so dangerous.

26 min: Kelly is fouled by Lawrence, and that’s a heavy one, though no booking.

24 min: City continuing to press, Shaw all over Hudson. Emma Hayes looks concerned on the sidelines. Her team second best. Though Ramirez forces a corner, taken short to Fran Kirby, and it’s scuffed behind for another corner. Eventually, Keating can claim.

22 min: City hold the offside line, as Reiten is caught unawares.

20 min: Hannah Hampton to the rescue, saves from Shaw and then from the corner that follows, from Aleixandri’s header.

19 min: Chelsea try to get Ramirez away but she’s not quite on the correct wavelength.

17 min: Well, this is very exciting. Chelsea have to chase the game. And we have seen how deadly City can be on the break.

15 min: That was a fine demonstration of the press and counter game that dominates the game in both women and men’s football. City perfectly executed it, making full advantage of a Cuthbert error and boom.

Goal! Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City (Shaw, 14)

Some home excitement as Lauren James shows off her immaculate control. But the all is soon enough coughed up. City break at pace, real pace and when Bunny Shaw gets the ball from Jess Park. Shaw ploughs on, and on, and when she approaches Hampton flicks the ball in. Great goal well taken.

Bunny Shaw opens the scoring for Manchester City, with a fine finish past Hannah Hampton in the Chelsea goal. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian

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12 min: The corner is aimed at Shaw but then Lauren Hemp comes across her. “Call a name,” as they used to say. The ball eventually goes back to Hampton in the Chelsea goal.

11 min: Shaw drops deep, very deep. Then Hemp and Kelly link up. Kelly eventually wins a corner. Kelly will take that herself, of course.

9 min: The ball stroked around by City, perhaps trying to get their breath back after something of a Chelsea onslaught. Chelsea get it back. Sounds like a few fans have been making full use of the Kingsmeadow bar.

7 min: Keating again claims, as Niamh Charles lobs in a cross from the left.

6 min: A Chelsea corner, after Greenwood scuffs the ball behind. Cuthbert reaches the cross but Keating in City’s goal claims it.

4 min: Lauren James booms into space but her attempted diag is cut out. Then Fran Kirby plays in Cuthbert whose shot is blocked. Chelsea are up for this one too.

Lauren James runs at the Man City goal whilst under pressure from Leila Ouahabi. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

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3 min: Chloe Kelly to the fore with City, she’s such a dangerous player. Lauren Hemp on the left side plays it back to Alex Greenwood. City look well up for this, pushing forwards from the start.

1 min: And away we go in south London. Or is it Surrey? One never quite knows. City immediately go long to Khadija Shaw but there’s an infringement.

Ok, the teams are out at Kingsmeadow. The Liquidator is playing. And THIS IS MASSIVE.

Emma Hayes’ pre-match flash interview: “I love these games. There is a lot of mutual respect between both clubs and it will be a very interesting battle. It gets you three points closer in an ideal world to where you want to be. I’ve been here long enough, I know the way the game goes and I’m not thinking abut that. I’ve got to get the team prepared and get the mindset right. They know what we expect, they know what a Chelsea standard is and I’ll absolutely demand that from them.”

Gareth Taylor’s pre-match flash interview: “I think we are in good form, in good spirit and I know we are coming up against a good challenger tonight. It’s a good opportunity for us. At the start of the season if we could have the chance we had tonight to go really close with winning tonight, we would have took your hand off.”

Those teams: City unchanged from the team that beat Arsenal in the FA Cup. Lauren James replacing Johanna Rytting Kaneryd is Chelsea’s sole change. Two settled teams, as might be expected at the top of the table, though Chelsea still rue the loss of Sam Kerr, who is likely to miss the Olympics, according to reports from Australia. That’s sad for Kerr, who is at least off her crutches now.

And from Gareth Taylor, the Manchester City manager: ““I don’t think we need to hype it up any more,” he said. “For us, normalising it is the sensible thing for us. When you play against Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester United, the nerves and everything is there anyway.

“It’s a big game. It feels big. There’s no denying that. There’s no doubt the importance of the game and this is what we want, to be in this position. It’s when you come into it at this stage of the season and you have the opportunity to potentially go within goal difference of the league leaders. That’s exactly what we wanted.”

Some pre-match words from Chelsea manager Emma Hayes, via the BBC: “We have experience of being in this position and we understand what it takes to win titles. We will have to use all of that experience in the next part, starting from tomorrow, to be in the best position possible to win another title.

“But one thing is for certain, the title isn’t decided over one or two games, it’s effectively breaking down the season in blocks. We’re in a strong position for sure, but I do not believe we are overwhelming favourites to win a title just because of our position.”

Those teams in analogue fashion.

Chelsea: Hampton, Lawrence, Carter, Bjorn, Charles, James, Cuthbert, Leupolz, Reiten, Kirby, Ramirez. Subs: Musovic, Ingle, Nusken, Perisset, Mjelde, Kaneryd, Buchanan, Cankovic, Beever-Jones.

Man City: Keating, Casparij, Aleixandri, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Coombs, Kelly, Park, Hemp, Shaw. Subs: Stokes, Fowler, Angeldal, Morgan, Blindkilde, MacIver, Mace, Kennedy.

The teams

The XI set to confront Chelsea! 🫡

XI | Keating, Aleixandri, Greenwood (C), Coombs, Kelly, Hemp, Ouahabi, Park, Casparij, Shaw, Hasegawa

SUBS | MacIver, Stokes, Fowler, Angeldahl, Morgan, Mace, Blindkilde-Brown, Mace, Kennedy#ManCity | @etihad pic.twitter.com/8uvur0HgZh

— Man City Women (@ManCityWomen) February 16, 2024

This week’s Moving The Goalposts, to which you should sign up, features a preview of this match.

The two No 9s: Khadija Shaw has been setting records again for City. She has 13 league goals – a league high – and recently scored three hat-tricks in four games. The Jamaica international has a natural goalscoring ability, with her head or feet, and is at times unplayable. Her aerial ability and pace to beat defensive lines is coupled with her movement, hold-up play and strong relationship with those around her. There is, however, a slight doubt over Shaw’s fitness after she was withdrawn with a calf problem last weekend.

At the other end all eyes will be on Chelsea’s new acquisition, Mayra Ramírez, who made a high-profile move to the club in January. At 5ft 10in, the Colombian adds a strong presence while also possessing speed and plenty of flair. In the little time she has had with her new club, Ramírez has demonstrated the abilities needed to lead the line and opened her account with a beautifully flicked backheel strike at the weekend. Having the support of creative wide forwards and the undeniable talent of Lauren James in the pocket should be a recipe for success, but she will need time to settle and develop those relationships.

Here’s that WSL table. It’s tight at the top.

Preamble

This is the big one. Should Chelsea win this one, then then chances of Emma Hayes sailing across the Atlantic with another title to her name will be greatly increased. The gap could open to six points. A win for Gareth Taylor’s team and the title race is back on, and that could let in Arsenal, against whom Chelsea lost their only match of the season, a 4-1 defeat. The teams last met in the second game of the WSL campaign, and it ended 1-1, with an exceedingly late goal by Guro Reiten.

Kick-off is 7.15pm. Join me.





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