Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

FAWSL title race at stake, Manchester City take on a high-flying Chelsea

Posted on 21 February 2020 by Alexandra Ibaceta

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Chelsea travel to Manchester to take on their title-race rivals at the Academy Stadium where the Blues have never won a FAWSL match.

Only seven matches remain and with three teams in contention to become the next WSL champions, Sunday’s match could prove crucial.

One point separates the sides, with City sitting on the summit, though Chelsea still have a game in hand.

The defending champions, Arsenal, sit just two points below Chelsea in third, currently out of a Champions League spot, but take on Bristol City in their next WSL match in a months time after the international break.

Emma Hayes’ side have been in top form and have taken 34 of 36 points available to them this season.

The Blues remain the only undefeated club in the league with a record of 12 wins and 2 draws, but City have an 11 game winning-streak at home.

Despite this impressive record, the Manchester side have fallen short against both Chelsea and Arsenal in this campaign, though City overcame the Gunners at the Academy Stadium and will go into this Sunday with confidence.

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Last time out

Bethany England and Maren Mjelde overturned City’s lead with just eleven minutes left on the clock at Kingsmeadow early in December.

Caroline Weir put her side ahead in the 59th minute, but Chelsea’s endeavour to keep their unbeaten record showed and the side managed to net two goals in the span of three minutes.

Previous to this, City had only conceded one goal, coming from Arsenal striker, Vivianne Miedema at Meadow Park, which ended City’s winning start to the season.

England has scored in eight straight WSL matches, a competition record, and is just three goals from catching up to Miedema, who has 16 goals tallied.

The England striker will certainly be one to watch this weekend.

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Despite putting themselves as favourites to win the title, the Chelsea boss refused to put much importance on beating the likes of City and Arsenal.

After her side’s 4-1 win over the Gunners at Meadow Park in early January Hayes stated: “We are always going to be a game behind in the end, so there’s no point at looking at the league table and just take it one game at a time.”

“Yeah that’s nice [beating Arsenal twice], but we still didn’t beat Brighton away and we still didn’t beat Liverpool away.

“Perhaps we could’ve been further away, but we’re not.

“We’re not first. Once we get in the first position then it’s advantage us.”

Nick Cushing left his manager post earlier this month following City’s victory over Arsenal.

Alan Mahon, interim boss, who was Cushing’s right hand man, has won his first two matches and is looking forward to this massive fixture.

“I’ve been here a while now and it’s not about me trying to be clever. It’s about continuity and simplicity.” said Mahon speaking to Manchester City media.

“It’s a massive game. We’ve put ourselves in this position, they’re a top team and we are.

“We’re not going to put everything on it and say if we lose it then that’s the end of it, but we have to try and make sure we hold ourselves accountable on the day and try to get a result.”

Match information

The match kicks off 14:00 GMT at the Academy Stadium and you can watch live on BT Sport. Tickets are still available online and at the Etihad Stadium ticket office.