Manchester United make a challenging trip to Stamford Bridge to face defending champions and leaders Chelsea in the first WSL game of 2024.
CHE-W vs MUN-W Match Details
Date: Sunday, 21 January 2024
Time: 12:30 (BST) / 17:30 (IST)
Venue: Stamford Bridge, London
CHE-W vs MUN-W Match Preview
Chelsea begin the New Year in expected style sealing a 3-1 win over West Ham in the fourth round of the Women’s FA Cup. However, they had to fight for the victory after going 1-0 down in the 18th minute with Mia Fishel’s equalizer forcing the tie to extra time where Erin Cuthbert and Aggie Beever-Jones found the net. With the momentum in place, the Blues will be concentrating on the second half of the WSL leading the table again with 25 points to their name. However, the holders lead title rivals Arsenal in second and third-placed Manchester City by just three points with 12 games to go. Chelsea will be eyeing a fifth WSL title in a row, with also in the running for three more trophies this season, to give their legendary manager Emma Hayes a fitting send-off before she takes up the U.S. women’s national team job. The Blues take on fourth-placed Manchester United at Stamford Bridge to restart their WSL campaign with three points in mind and establish a six-point lead.
Manchester United also began 2024 on a winning note thrashing third-tier side Newcastle United 5-0 with Nikita Parris scoring a brace and a goal apiece from Ella Toone, Rachel Williams and Melvine Malard. The Red Devils hope the victory could motivate them to do better in the latter period of the WSL having fallen from title contention in the first 10 league games. With seven points adrift of the top spot, Marc Skinner’s side is also fighting to be in the top four with Liverpool level on points and Tottenham behind by just three are ready to take advantage of a slip-off. Inconsistency has been a big factor in United’s downfall this season and they will want to rectify their form before it gets too late. Restarting WSL by facing the holders in a huge tie, the unbeaten streak of the Red Devils in the last eight away league games could be at stake. Manchester United also conceded defeat in the last game of 2023 to Liverpool and not since February 2021 have they lost two league games in a row.
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CHE-W vs MUN-W Team News
Chelsea suffered a huge blow in their winter break warm-up trip to Morocco with star striker Sam Kerr ruled out for the season due to an ACL injury. The two-time WSL Golden Boot winner’s extended absence means 22-year-old Mia Fishel will take the responsibility of being the main striker now. The Blues also lack their center-back and leader Millie Bright with Kadeisha Buchanan filling in for her. Other absentees include Aniek Nouwen, Katerina Svitkova and Catarina Macario.
Visitors Manchester United also have a long list of injuries with Gabby George, Hinata Miyazawa, Emma Watson and Evie Rabjohn all out of contention. After a lengthy spell on the touchline, Aoife Mannion is closing on a return with the defender available from the bench. Also among the substitutes could be Lisa Naalsund who has recovered from a knock that kept her out of the FA Cup win over Newcastle a week ago.
CHE-W vs MUN-W Predicted Lineups
CHE-W: Ann-Katrin Berger; Ashley Lawrence, Kadeisha Buchanan, Jess Carter, Niamh Charles; Sophie Ingle, Erin Cuthbert; Rytting Kaneryd, Fran Kirby, Lauren James; Mia Fishel
MUN-W: Mary Earps; Jayde Riviere, Le Tissier, Millie Turner, Hannah Blundell; Hayley Ladd, Katie Zelem; Nikita Parris, Ella Toone, Leah Galton; Melvine Malard
CHE-W vs MUN-W Dream11 Match Prediction
Chelsea will be the favorites to get all three points against Manchester United having won this WSL meeting in eight games and having won each of their home games since 2022.
CHE-W vs MUN-W Dream11 Team Top picks
Captain Pick: Lauren James
Vice-captain Picks: Ella Toone, Erin Cuthbert
Others: Nikita Parris, Sjoeke Nusken, Niamh Charles
Our top picks for the CHE-W vs MUN-W Dream11 Team are Lauren James (7 goals, 1 assist in eight WSL matches this season) and Ella Toone (3 goals, 3 assists in 10 WSL matches).
CHE-W vs MUN-W Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Earps (8)
DEF: Blundell (8.5), Turner (8.5), Charles (8.5)
MID: Toone (9), Cuthbert (8.5), Nusken (8.5), Galton (7.5)
FW: Parris (8.5), Malard (8), James (9)
Vice-captain: Ella Toone
Captain: Lauren James
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