Sunday’s game will be the second big test for the Arsenal Ladies in the 2015 season after a tough League opener at Notts County.
Arsenal ladies entertain Chelsea at home in the FA Women’s Cup round six and are two games away from the first final to be played at Wembley on 1st August.
It cannot get bigger than that for an early season game and it should be an open game with a lot of goals.
04/09/14 Arsenal 2 Chelsea 3 FA WSL
16/07/14 Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1 FA WSL
06/07/14 Arsenal 3 Chelsea 0 FA WSL Continental Cup
11/05/14 Chelsea 3 Arsenal 5 aet FA Women’s Cup
29/08/13 Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Chelsea did the double last year over Arsenal in the League while Arsenal won the two cup games including an exceptional 5-3 aet FA Women’s Cup semi-final win.
Chelsea Ladies finished runner-up in the FA WSL 2014 season, they were unlucky on the final day when their main goalkeeper got her collarbone broken by a Manchester City player. It was an act that went unpunished by the referee and led to the youngster who came on conceding a soft goal and the title going to Liverpool.
Chelsea are determined to go one better this season and also will want to avenge last year’s semi-final defeat.
They have improved with good recruitment mixing English girls like Millie Bright and foreign stars like Hedvig Lindhal and Marija Banusic. They use a possession-based attacking football style, using pace on the wings from Davison and Aluko.
They also have physical players who are useful with the more traditional British side of the game if needed to be as well as strength in depth and can call on quality players from the bench.
Who would you have?
Ji So-Yun to take over from Kelly Smith in the number 10 position, a genuine and rare playmaker.
Gemma Davison as a proper right winger is a must for a team playing in the 4-3-3 formation.
Opposition key players
Eniola Aluko the winger has been in superb form last season creating many chances for her teammates with her pace.
Ji So-Yun a fantastic playmaker, the kind of player that the system does not produce in England as they are often labelled lazy or not working hard enough.
Hedvig Lindhal Sweden’s number one goalkeeper a newcomer to the FA WSL and a strong player.
Depending on tiredness and injuries from the international week :
Arsenal: Byrne, Scott, Stoney, Rose, Mitchell, Bailey, Nobbs, Losada, Sanderson, Carte,r Pablos Sanchon.
Chelsea: Lindhal, Borges, Fahey, Bright, Rafferty, Chapman, Spence, So-Yun, Davison, Banusic, Aluko.
Playing both sides
Siobhan Chamberlain spent a few seasons at Chelsea before moving to Bristol Academy for three seasons then signing for Arsenal in 2014
Casey Stoney played for and also managed Chelsea in the old Women’s Premier League when their manager was dismissed mid-season. She was also managing at the Chelsea Academy doing an excellent job there educating the young players with the right principles and values.
Lianne Sanderson played a couple of seasons for Chelsea after leaving Arsenal due to personal disagreements with people around the club. She then moved to play in the USA and multiple countries around the world before coming home in November.
Anne Meiwald, the German youngster, was very successful with Arsenal youth teams before leaving for Chelsea and more first team football opportunities
Gilly Flaherty played her first Arsenal Ladies senior game aged 15 and was a cornerstone of the team for many seasons before leaving in 2014 when Shelley Kerr made many changes to the squad.
Katie Chapman was also an integral part of the most successful Arsenal Ladies era coming from Charlton in 2006/07 and left at the same time as Flaherty when Kerr implemented many changes to the squad
Niamh Fahey was also a member of the successful Arsenal Ladies era, she made the move to Chelsea to be able to play football as a full time professional putting her job on stand-by for a few years.
Laura Coombs played under Emma Hayes at the Arsenal Academy and also had a dozen first team games for the first team before moving on to Chelsea in order to get more first team opportunities
Gemma Davison, a fan’s favourite at Borehamwood for many years, left to play a couple of seasons in the US Leagues before coming back to the Arsenal. Shelley Kerr’s rebuilding scheme saw her, like many others, leave during the winter 2013. She signed for Liverpool and won the FA WSL title last year and has just returned to London and play for the Blues.