WSL talking points: 'Unstoppable' Chelsea in action as Arsenal look bounce back live on Sky

by 24britishtvMarch 25, 2024, noon 21
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Watch out, imperious Chelsea are on the charge. Fresh from beating Ajax 3-0 midweek, and putting one foot in the Champions League semis, the Blues travel to east London to take on West Ham on Sunday.
• Why Chelsea are so powerful when trophy season nears

Their relentless schedule shows no signs of slowing but Hayes appears to have an answer for every challenge thrown Chelsea's way.

Mirroring Friday's impressive win over Arsenal, Lauren James scored the opener in Amsterdam before Sjoeke Nusken found the net twice as Chelsea secured a fifth win in 16 days - five games into their eight in March. April looks busy too.

Should they maintain this formidable form, a historic quadruple is well and truly on. The Blues have won each of their last three away outings in the league without conceding, that's despite suffering a heavy casualty list: Sam Kerr, Mia Fishel, Mayra Ramirez, Millie Bright, Natalie Bjorn and Maren Mjelde are among those sidelined.

That matters less when you have the depth of quality Chelsea have, though. There has been a huge step up from James this season - only Khadija Shaw (17) has scored more WSL goals than the Chelsea starlet (13) - while Nusken, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Melanie Leupolz have also been standout.

Arsenal's flat performance against Chelsea last week got people talking. The Gunners were put to task, and yet, all the pre-match chatter centred on how Jonas Eidevall's side had the edge, quality and personnel to derail Chelsea's quadruple bid. The reality was far from it.
• Stream the WSL title race run-in with NOW

Arsenal were torn apart by a severely depleted Chelsea XI, conceding three times in 32 first-half minutes to all but end their chances of WSL glory this season. It was a performance that highlighted most, if not all, of Arsenal's frailties, underpinned by weak defensive shape, giant gaps in midfield and poor game management.

An error-strewn first 45 minutes essentially put the result beyond them with Eidevall accepting post-match his side "played into Chelsea's hands". This week will test how much stuffing has been knocked out with a trip to Aston Villa, live on Sky Sports.

Any further mistakes opens the door to Manchester United and Liverpool, both six points behind, in the race for Champions League football. To surrender a European spot as this late stage would be devastating for the north Londoners, meaning immediate bounce back is an absolute must.

A top-four finish would have been a stretch target for Liverpool at the start of this season - their second top-flight campaign after earning promotion in 2022. But with six games to go, the prospect is a very real possibility.

Finishing fourth does not earn you anything tangible in the WSL but would be hugely significant for Matt Beard's side after a turbulent few years, which saw them spend two seasons in the Championship.

The Reds have now equalled their second-highest WSL points tally after beating West Ham last weekend. Big strides. In fact, the last time Liverpool amassed more points than they have now they won the league, albeit the standard has dramatically increased since 2013.
• WSL attendance record broken - with six rounds of fixtures still to come

Next is up a Merseyside derby, where a win would be good enough to leapfrog Man United. Double sweet.

Sunday will be the third time the two halves of Liverpool have met in competitive action this season, with the balance delicately poised at one win each, although it's Everton who boast the most recent league triumph - a 1-0 victory back in October.

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