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The match won’t begin at 7pm as scheduled, apparently because of a kit clash. Eh? Don’t they wear blue and red?

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Emma Hayes has changed more than half the Chelsea team that won the FA Cup quarter-final at Everton. Lauren James, Niamh Charles and Guro Reiten are among those who return to the side.

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Stina Blackstenius, who scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa in last week’s Conti Cup semi-final, is preferred to Alessia Russo up front. Kim Little, Caitlin Foord and Victoria Pelova all return.

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Chelsea (possible 4-3-3) Hampton; Perisset, Carter, Buchanan, Charles; Nusken, Cuthbert, Leupolz; Rytting Kaneryd, James, Reiten.
Substitutes: Musovic, Ingle, Macario, Lawrence, Kirby, Hamano, Cankovic, Beever-Jones.

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Arsenal (possible 4-3-3) Zinsberger; McCabe, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley; Pelova, Little, Walti; Mead, Blackstenius, Foord.
Substitutes: Fox, Maanum, D’Angelo, Russo, Codina, Cooney-Cross, Holly Reid, Bouhaddi.

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Referee Rebecca Welch.

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Your London derby line-up. 🤩#CFCW pic.twitter.com/iXwqaws5aO

— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) March 15, 2024

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🔴 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 ⚪️

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Little wears the armband
🇳🇱 Pelova in midfield
🇸🇪 Blackstenius leads the line

COME ON YOU GUNNERS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EHAfMwCHkQ

— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) March 15, 2024

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Hello and welcome to live, minute-by-minute coverage of Chelsea v Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. Some games are bigger than others, and this is a supersized triple whopper of a contest: 1st v 3rd in the WSL, huge London club v huge London club, a match that both teams can barely afford to draw never mind lose.

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Arsenal trounced Chelsea 4-1 in the return fixture in December. They also beat Manchester City at home, but three defeats to teams outside the big four have cost them. Chelsea have the opposite problem: the eight points they have dropped this season have all been against Arsenal or City. They will be exceedingly keen to put that right tonight.

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Pos Team P GD Pts
1 Chelsea Women 15 32 37
2 Man City Women 15 29 37
3 Arsenal Women 15 19 34
4 Man Utd Women 15 13 25
5 Liverpool FC Women 15 2 25

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Kick off 7pm

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Key events

3 min Kim Little checks her teeth after being caught by the flailing arm of Buchanan. She’s fine.

2 min James shoots over from 25 yards, this time with her left foot. If I were Arsenal I wouldn’t keep letting her shoot from there, or indeed anywhere.

1 min Lauren James, playing as a false nine, has the first shot from distance even before the clock has appeared on the TV screen. It’s blocked by Wubben-Moy.

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1 min After the players take a knee, Chelsea kick off from left to right as we watch.

A reminder of the teams

Chelsea (possible 4-3-3) Hampton; Perisset, Buchanan, Carter, Charles; Cuthbert, Leupolz, Nusken; Kaneryd, James, Reiten.
Substitutes: Musovic, Ingle, Macario, Lawrence, Kirby, Hamano, Cankovic, Beever-Jones.

Arsenal (possible 4-3-3) Zinsberger; McCabe, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley; Pelova, Little, Walti; Mead, Blackstenius, Foord.
Substitutes: Fox, Maanum, D’Angelo, Russo, Codina, Cooney-Cross, Holly Reid, Bouhaddi.

Referee Rebecca Welch.

The players are in the tunnel, for real. Never mind that weird delay, it’s time for a huge game in the WSL title race. Let’s sock!

Let’s hope for a socktacular game at Stamford Bridge this evening. Photograph: Kieran McManus/Shutterstock
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Arsenal are wearing black Chelsea socks, bought from the Megastore, with tape over the Chelsea and Nike logos. Arsenal are sponsored by Adidas. The players are now having a second warm-up. What an odd build-up to such a big game.

The socks are on offer at the Chelsea Megastore, reduced to £12.99 a pair, so Arsenal have at least saved a few quid. Sort of.

Chelsea playing in the Coventry away kit at Highfield Road in 1997. Ah, the joys of the kit mix-up. Photograph: Getty Images
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Kick off at 7.30pm

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The DJ is keeping the crowd entertainined by going through the Friday night classics: Failure by Swans, The Beast in Me by Nick Lowe, Gravity by Coldplay. The place is rocking.

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No update on when the match will kick off. Apparently Arsenal have to change their white socks, which are the same colour as Chelsea’s. The men wore red socks when they played here in October.

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Kick off delayed

The match won’t begin at 7pm as scheduled, apparently because of a kit clash. Eh? Don’t they wear blue and red?

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“Blackstenius rather than Russo – not a choice many Arsenal fans would nod sagely at,” writes Charles Antaki. “It’s true that Blackstenius scored three against Villa the other day, but Chelsea are a nut of a much tougher variety. She’s admirably tireless and committed, but tends to run straight lines; Russo is the more subtle and elusive player. We all know what Chelsea are like, so unless Russo is out of sorts for one reason another, this does look like an odd choice.”

As does Jonas Eidevall

The loudest supporters tonight will be them [points to the away end].

[On Blackstenius and Russo battling for a place up front] Competition in a squad is really good so long as you don’t lose self-confidence as a player. The moment you lose self-confidence, it doesn’t matter what ability you have – especially as a striker. If you lose the bravery and start overthinking, you lose your edge.

We try to communicate about their strengths and what we want to see; make sure they don’t need to have second thoughts. That’s the art of coaching. I’m not saying I’m doing it perfectly but it’s a really, really important aspect of the game. If you want to win thing you will need to get that right.

[On Emma Hayes] She is so flexible tactically. As soon as something is not working for Chelsea, she will change personnel, formation or the way of playing. We expect them to change as the game goes on – she will be very proactive. Me and Emma are slightly different as coaches. I will stick with plan A for longer because I believe so much in it and the reason we have that plan.

Emma Hayes talks to Sky Sports

I believe every single one of our players is ready. I hope we use the crowd – we have to create the noise and give them something to be excited about. If we carry out the things that really, really matter, and are important to me, it’ll be a cracker of a game.

[Lauren James] is good, she’s ready to go. She’s had her hair done. She’s got it ready for the crowd!

Read the great Karen Carney on the title race

Arsenal have arguably the best squad in the league and the opportunity to chase down the other two. Their home victory over Chelsea was the performance of the season and they need to replicate that. The Gunners have great variety in attack, making them able to adapt to circumstances. Whether they need runners in behind or more crosses into the box, they have a squad of problem-solvers.

Team news

Emma Hayes has changed more than half the Chelsea team that won the FA Cup quarter-final at Everton. Lauren James, Niamh Charles and Guro Reiten are among those who return to the side.

Stina Blackstenius, who scored a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa in last week’s Conti Cup semi-final, is preferred to Alessia Russo up front. Kim Little, Caitlin Foord and Victoria Pelova all return.

Chelsea (possible 4-3-3) Hampton; Perisset, Carter, Buchanan, Charles; Nusken, Cuthbert, Leupolz; Rytting Kaneryd, James, Reiten.
Substitutes: Musovic, Ingle, Macario, Lawrence, Kirby, Hamano, Cankovic, Beever-Jones.

Arsenal (possible 4-3-3) Zinsberger; McCabe, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley; Pelova, Little, Walti; Mead, Blackstenius, Foord.
Substitutes: Fox, Maanum, D’Angelo, Russo, Codina, Cooney-Cross, Holly Reid, Bouhaddi.

Referee Rebecca Welch.

Your London derby line-up. 🤩#CFCW pic.twitter.com/iXwqaws5aO

— Chelsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) March 15, 2024

“}}” config=”{“renderingTarget”:”Web”,”darkModeAvailable”:false}”/>

🔴 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 ⚪️

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Little wears the armband
🇳🇱 Pelova in midfield
🇸🇪 Blackstenius leads the line

COME ON YOU GUNNERS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EHAfMwCHkQ

— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) March 15, 2024

“}}” config=”{“renderingTarget”:”Web”,”darkModeAvailable”:false}”>

🔴 𝗧𝗘𝗔𝗠𝙉𝙀𝙒𝙎 ⚪️

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Little wears the armband
🇳🇱 Pelova in midfield
🇸🇪 Blackstenius leads the line

COME ON YOU GUNNERS ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EHAfMwCHkQ

— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) March 15, 2024

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Preamble

Hello and welcome to live, minute-by-minute coverage of Chelsea v Arsenal at Stamford Bridge. Some games are bigger than others, and this is a supersized triple whopper of a contest: 1st v 3rd in the WSL, huge London club v huge London club, a match that both teams can barely afford to draw never mind lose.

Arsenal trounced Chelsea 4-1 in the return fixture in December. They also beat Manchester City at home, but three defeats to teams outside the big four have cost them. Chelsea have the opposite problem: the eight points they have dropped this season have all been against Arsenal or City. They will be exceedingly keen to put that right tonight.

Kick off 7pm




https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/5d55e8d27d6992993a666f53a2dfa14c7ba93f8e/0_158_4003_2402/master/4003.jpg?width=1200&height=630&quality=85&auto=format&fit=crop&overlay-align=bottom%2Cleft&overlay-width=100p&overlay-base64=L2ltZy9zdGF0aWMvb3ZlcmxheXMvdGctbGl2ZS5wbmc&enable=upscale&s=06b4e011cb3a44897e80a357621c3898

#Chelsea #Arsenal #Womens #Super #League #live

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