Chelsea Women will attempt to show dominance against an injury-riddled Manchester City Women team and will look ahead to going face to face with the favourites in the other semi-final of Women’s FA Cup, London rivals Arsenal Women (who’ve beaten both teams in this semi-final earlier in their WSL season, 5-0 and 3-2 respectively). Man City Women will be looking to bounce back and show that they’ve changed since the international break, and fans will hope that the 2-week break has given Gareth Taylor some new ideas. So, two of the country’s best are going head to head to have a chance to get revenge on the current WSL table toppers, namely Arsenal.
Manchester City haven’t had the start to the season that many would’ve expected, as the Citizens have lost to many teams that people thought they would annihilate, including the likes of Real Madrid, West Ham and Tottenham. Last season’s runners up haven’t recruited much, with many players being replacements to outgoing ones. However, they’ll look to break their bad run, but it’ll be hard against a team as good as Chelsea.
After a few performances which have relied on individual brilliance, Chelsea and Emma Hayes will be looking to bounce back against a team who haven’t been so good themselves. Chelsea have had a pretty bad start to the season (by their high standards) after losing the first battle to Arsenal, drawing against current Champions League group toppers Wolfsburg, and also not taking a few chances to collect goal difference, something which the table-toppers have seized.
Emma Hayes has so much depth in her side that she doesn’t even need to worry about future matches, with the likes of Ballon D’or nominees Jessie Fleming and Fran Kirby on the bench. I think she’ll start her strongest team.
Gareth Taylor needs to still have injuries in the back of his mind, and so will be restricted in what squad he selects. He’ll go for the best squad possible, but what that currently is for Man City isn’t that well known.
WHEN & WHERE?
Venue: Academy Stadium.
Date: October 31, 2021.
Time: Kick-off at 12:45 GMT.
Lauren James will continue not to feature for the Blues after the 20-year-old is still recovering from injuries that she picked up during her time at Man United.
Vicky Losada and Ellie Roebuck are still doubts for the Citizens, meanwhile, Steph Houghton will continue to remain sidelined. No news at all on Karen Bardsley, but Demi Stokes and Kiera Walsh should be back. Chloe Kelly remains out and doesn’t seem likely to return any time soon.
A catalyst for City’s season?
Listen, Manchester City are a big club. But, you can’t deny that right now, they’re struggling. The Sky Blues are currently sitting in ninth place, but have started to pick themselves back up, with a 2-2 draw against United in their last WSL match (despite having 1 less player on the pitch) and also a 5-1 win against Everton just before the break took place. That’s why a loss against Chelsea today would be so damaging for the Citizens, right?
Well, you could say that they would benefit from fewer competitions, and that could be true, but I think City need more momentum. But, they can take a positive whatever happens, whether that be that they get more training time or that they’re in a cup final and they’ve beaten one of the best in Europe.
Who else? Sam Kerr is a brilliant footballer and every single person knows it. I think this is the third time I’ve put her as my key player, so I’m probably repeating myself at this point. So, let’s look at her FBRef stats to truly understand her vast qualities in more detail. Firstly, Sam Kerr is top for the following stats: Non-Penalty goals, npxG, Total shots, npxG+xA, Touches in the attacking penalty area and Progressive passes received.
That’s 6 categories which Sam Kerr is the best at. Statistically, she is the best at that and no one can take that away from her. Her npxG is 1.04, which means that she should get 1 goal every game. Does she? Yes. In fact, she overperforms that, with 1.31 goals every time she should get 1.04. That might not seem like much, but when it’s 26 goals a season instead of 20, that means lots to Chelsea. Sam Kerr is a game-winner, but even when one isn’t needed she still gets in on the goals, which is what makes her such a beautiful footballer and my star player for Chelsea.
I feel so sorry for Lauren Hemp. She’s performing so well, and she’s creating chances which no one’s getting on the end of. Her xA is 0.41, which means that she should have 2 assists in her 5 WSL games. Not so great, but how many does she have? 0. That’s right, none. Her npxG means she should have converted a goal herself, and unlike Man City, she hasn’t disappointed, as she’s scored her goal, but it was hopeless, as the goal came in a 2-1 loss against Spurs. Lauren Hemp has been disappointed by her teammates, but her performances and standards haven’t slipped and so despite being a 21-year-old, she’s currently Manchester City’s star performer and that makes her my star player for the match.
Manchester City predicted XI: Benameur, Beckie, Mace, Kennedy, Greenwood, Coombs, Scott, Walsh, Hemp, White, Shaw.
Chelsea predicted XI: Berger, Eriksson, Andersson, Bright, Cuthbert, Leupolz, Ji, Reiten, Harder, Kerr, England.
Chelsea 3-1 Manchester City