Chelsea Women return to Women’s Super League action with a hotly-anticipated London derby against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday lunchtime.
The Blues have regrouped after a well-earned Christmas and New Year break, having enjoyed a successful first half of the season which saw us put together an unbeaten run of 15 consecutive matches in domestic and European competition.
A nine-game unbeaten run in the WSL created a three-point advantage at the top of the league table. In Europe, we came through a tough group in first position after five wins and one draw which sealed our place in the quarter-finals.
Our return from the mid-season break is the short hop across the capital to north London, where we will take on second-placed Arsenal in front of the television cameras at the Emirates Stadium.
We will be aiming to extend our lead at the summit with a favourable result against an Arsenal side who have won four of their previous five league matches, with title challengers meeting for an intriguing top-two encounter.
When and where?
We travel to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Women’s Super League this Sunday 15 January, with kick-off scheduled for 12 noon (UK time)
How to follow
As always, you can follow the game via Chelsea Women’s social media channels. There will be live commentary on our Twitter page and regular updates on Facebook and Instagram. Simply search ‘ChelseaFCW’ on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Supporters who cannot attend will be able to watch the match which has been selected for broadcast on Sky Sports.
We took maximum points from our two league matches in December, with victories against Leicester City and Reading before domestic football paused for the winter break, which we entered at the top of the table.
A trip to the East Midlands to face Leicester at the King Power Stadium resulted in an emphatic 8-0 victory to kick start the month. Jessie Fleming and Fran Kirby scored braces alongside goals from Guro Reiten, Niamh Charles, Sam Kerr and Bethany England.
Upon our return to Kingsmeadow, we hosted Reading in our final league fixture of 2022 and secured a battling 3-2 victory in freezing wintry conditions. A brace from Jelena Cankovic and Fran Kirby’s finish were enough despite two quickfire second-half goals from the visitors to set up a tense finale.
Reiten has been involved in more goals than any other player in the Barclays WSL this season (11), including a league-high nine assists. Only three Chelsea players have registered double figures for assists in a single WSL campaign – Karen Carney (15) and Ji So-Yun (10) in 2016-17, and Fran Kirby in 2020-21 (11)
After nine straight league victories, we occupy first place in the table with 27 points, having won nine and lost one of our 10 league matches to date. During this time we have scored 31 goals, conceding eight in the process leaving us with a goal difference of +23.
As for our opponents, Arsenal are in the second place with 24 points, having won eight and lost one of their nine league matches. They have scored 25 goals during this time and conceded five in the process, giving them a goal difference of +20.
Arsenal Women vs Chelsea Women recent head-to-head record
Our previous league meeting with Arsenal came in February of last season, where we shared the spoils in a goalless draw at Kingsmeadow.
Two months later, we took on Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals and booked our place in the final with a 2-0 victory away from home, thanks to goals from Reiten and Ji.
Arsenal have won 16 of their last 17 Barclays WSL games, while we have won 18 of our last 19 league matches, including each of the last nine in a row.
Next up for the Blues
We welcome Liverpool to Kingsmeadow for our first league fixture of 2023 on Sunday 22 January, with kick-off scheduled for 12.30pm (UK time) The match has been selected for broadcast on the BBC.
The Reds defeated us 2-1 on the opening day of the season at Prenton Park and this time around, the focus will be on taking all three points to maintain our title challenge.