31 mins: Leicester are having to deal with almost constant pressure. They have done very well not to crack, but it’s starting to feel like a matter of time.
28 mins: There’s a chance! Bright lifts the ball into the area and Kirby runs behind her marker, who has completely switched off, but miscues her header!
26 mins: Leicester are a well motivated and well organised side. They haven’t offered a huge amount of goal threat but they are defending their area well, and while Chelsea have had a few shots there haven’t been any clear goalscoring opportunities.
23 mins: Levell gives the ball away with a poor pass, but Kirby is fouled as soon as she picks it up. From the free kick, Nouwen’s meaty header is straight back at Levell.
20 mins: Ingle plays an excellent pass to Kirby, lurking just inside Leicester’s penalty area, but she’s closed down before the can shoot.
19 mins: Now Erikssen is down, after being clipped in the heel and then, as both players went to ground, kneed in the back by Flint.
16 mins: Leicester’s first shot comes from Sigsworth, about 25 yards from goal, and goes well wide. At the other end, Levell is down and pointing a physio towards her left thigh.
12 mins: Now Fleming has a long-range shot and Levell, who is already having a busy afternoon, turns it round the post.
11 mins: Even closer from Charles! Fleming crosses from the left and Charles, beyond the far post, heads back across goal but just wide of the back stick.
10 mins: A lovely Chelsea attack but the final ball across to Charles, bursting into the area on the right, is a little strong and with Purfield closing her down the first-time shot flies wide.
9 mins: Leicester’s last two attacks have ended with either Flint or Sigsworth running back to get the ball from deep but being caught offside anyway.
5 mins: The ball is pulled back by Charles to Kirby, and she sends the ball curling towards the far post. It’s not entirely clear whether she intended this as a cross or a shot, but it misses the goal by a smidgeon with Levell scrambling hopelessly across her goalline.
4 mins: Leicester push forward and Cain plays the ball into the area for Flint, who instantly decides she can’t reach it and stops running, which Cain is obviously unimpressed by.
Out come the players! And for that matter the coaching teams, with Leicester’s including a grinning Emile Heskey.
The managers have a chat with Sky. First, Emma Hayes on her selection process:
Trust the squad. They’ve been amazing all the way through the season so far and when you have so many games in quick succession it’s not always the freshest in the legs, it’s freshest in the mind. We organise the team to perform in the first half, so this group have a job to do in the first half. We know we regularly make multiple subs who make an impact from the bench and I suspect that will be the same again today.
And then Leicester’s Jonathan Morgan:
Emma’s a fantastic tactician, she’ll make me think and hopefully I’ll make her think as well. The last thing I’ll say is: No fear, we are who we are, we have our own ability we need to insert into the game, but enjoy the opportunity because you never know when it will happen again.
Team news is filtering in, and here it is. Lots of changes for Chelsea:
Chelsea: Musovic, Nouwen, Bright, Ingle, England, Kirby, Eriksson, Fleming, Charles, Spence, Andersson. Subs: Berger, Carter, Leupolz, Ji, Reiten, Kerr, Cuthbert, Harder, Fox.
Leicester: Levell, Brougham, McManus, Plumptre, Purfield, O’Brien, Pike, Tierney, Cain, Flint, Sigsworth. Subs: Lambourne, Harris, De Graaf, Howard, Bailey-Gayle, Zajmi, Brown, Robinson.
A few years ago Leicester’s men’s team pulled off one of the great surprises in the history of football, winning the Premier League at 5,000-1 odds. Bookmakers rate the chance of their women’s side winning this single match at just 100-1, but really if they produce an upset at Kingsmeadow this afternoon it would be a jaw-dropping result of not-far-off comparable ridiculousness.
Chelsea, after all, are the two-time reigning champions, with a Kirby-Kerr-Harder frontline that is arguably the best in the game, who have lost two league matches since January 2019 and have won 11 of their last 13 league matches while conceding in only four. Leicester just got promoted, and have lost every one of their first four WSL matches by an aggregate score of 11-2. Plus, Chelsea used up an entire season’s worth of defensive calamity in their midweek 3-3 Champions League draw with Wolfsburg so the Foxes are unlikely to have any of that either.
But, it’s football, so who knows?
© 2023 JNews - Premium WordPress news & magazine theme by Jegtheme.
Leave a Reply