FA Women’s Super League Preview…

Chelsea remains at the top of the table and will be hoping to extend their lead as the teams below them battle to take the crown from the reigning champions in this final block of games in 2023…

Saturday 18th November 2023

Chelsea v Liverpool – Stamford Bridge (1.30pm) 

Where to watch – BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website

After news of Emma Hayes’ departure from Chelsea broke two weeks ago, it was finally confirmed that she will be heading to the US to take over the management of the national team ahead of the 2024 Olympics.

But there is a long time until then, and the league title is still well in her sights, as well as the Champions League, where the team played in mid-week, drawing 2-2 with Real Madrid. 

The game was marred with controversy after Real Madrid was awarded a penalty for a foul that appeared to happen outside the box and a last-minute goal from Chelsea that would have seen them take the three points but was ruled out by the referee.

The team will have to put their disappointment to one side and focus on their WSL title hopes and continuing their unbeaten run.

The Blues left-back Niamh Charles, who scored in their Champions League opener is looking forward to a big game at their showpiece ground.

Speaking to www.chelseafc.com, she said: “I’m really excited. We want to build this momentum in the games and keep going, recover properly. This is what we all look forward to when the games come thick and fast, and hopefully, we can build some really good momentum and put in a good performance.”

Liverpool are in a comfortable fifth place in the table with only one loss this season. A win against the current title holders and league leaders at Stamford Bridge may well be a tough ask but having already beaten Arsenal this season, The Reds will go into the game with their eyes on another upset.

Speaking to www.liverpoolfc.com, manager Matt Beard said: “This game against Chelsea will be the ultimate challenge, as they are a world-class side under Emma Hayes, who has done a fantastic job there. We are in a good place, we played well in the two games against Chelsea last season, and we will give it everything that we have got.”

The teams last met in May. Chelsea took the three points, with goals from Niamh Charles and Sam Kerr.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Arsenal – Broadfield Stadium (2pm) 

Where to watch – Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Premier League

Brighton will be flying high after their 1-0 win at the Joie Stadium broke Manchester City’s unbeaten home record of 27 games in all competitions – seriously denting their title hopes.

Melissa Phillips’ side has been growing in confidence since holding Manchester United to a 2-2 in match-week five so to get a result again second-placed Arsenal would make a real statement.

In footage posted on Brighton’s social after the game, she said to her team: “It only takes one chance, and you were brave. That’s going to make us difficult to play against any team if we continue to believe and buy into our adaptability and the strength in this squad.”

After a shaky start to the season, Arsenal have put out two statement wins in their 2-1 over a dominant Manchester City and coming from behind to thrash Leicester City 6-2 last weekend.

With the growth and improvement across the FAWSL, there are no wins to take for granted and Arsenal need to refocus to ride the wave of a confident Seagulls side playing at home.

Speaking in the pre-match conference, manager Jonas Eidevall said: “I see us as a team that we’re going to develop during the season. We’re far from a finished product and if we use the time in the right way, we’re definitely going to be able to develop and grow and that’s what I think you’ve been seeing. We go from game to game and we learn new things and we develop together. Do we have room for more development and more growth? Absolutely so.”

In their last meeting back in May, Arsenal were dominant in their 4-0 win, with goals from Frida Maanum, Victoria Pelova and a brace from Stina Blackstenius.

 West Ham United v Aston Villa – Chigwell Construction Stadium (3pm) 

Where to watch – The FA Player

After a turbulent end to last season, West Ham have been looking to steady the ship and improve their performances this season.

New manager Rehanne Skinner has been developing the identity of the team and the way they play, performances have been improving but with only one win this season, they are yet to see the real fruits of their labour.

Realistically, this could be a chance for either team to take an all-important win and defender Amber Tysiak is aware of the task ahead.

Speaking to www.whufc.com, she said: “We’re still building as a team, playing in a way that’s different from what we were used to last season, so that is going to take time. I think we’ve already seen an improvement, and now it is about taking that to the next level and doing it consistently in matches.”

After five straight losses, Aston Villa were finally able to get off the mark with their 2-0 win over Bristol City last weekend and will be looking to continue their form against struggling West Ham.

Manager Carla Ward has been vocal about her gratitude for the unwavering support from both players and fans as the side has struggled to get started this season.

Speaking to www.shekicks.net, she said: “In these moments where it does become tough, it’s very, very, very easy to point the finger at the manager, but one thing through building those relationships with players, they then have your back as well as you have theirs, and sometimes that doesn’t happen. That’s something I’m immensely proud of, but I must admit, after the Chelsea game, getting some of the messages I did from the players was something that absolutely kept me going.”

Last time out, Aston Villa took home the three points with a 2-1 win over The Hammers at Chigwell Construction Stadium.

 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur – Kingpower Stadium (3pm)

Where to watch – The FA Player

The Foxes will be licking their wounds after their 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Arsenal last weekend. They are without a win since early October and will be hoping to get a result with another game in front of a home crowd.

Despite the heavy defeat to Arsenal, Leicester City manager Willie Kirk says confidence is still high about their progress and looking ahead to the game against Tottenham.

Speaking to www.lcfc.com, he said: “I’ve said to the players already that Spurs is a must-win game, in terms of the trajectory we’re trying to reach this season. What I’ve found is that we when we put the players under realistic pressure, they respond well, and I’m sure it’ll be no different, we’ll be excited to play in front of these fans again and try to right some wrongs.”

Tottenham Hotspur have had a solid start under new manager Robert Vilahamn with only 1 loss and are currently in fourth place in the table. A far cry from the regelation woes of last season.

Following a run of draws, Vilahamn will be looking to go one step further and secure three points as they travel to the Kingpower Stadium.

Speaking to www.tottenhamhotspur.com, he said: “The result is important; we need to make sure we get as many points as we can. We are in a good spot, we are top four, if we can continue to get a few more points before Christmas I’m going to be quite happy with the result but more happy with the performance because I think we actually play good football.”

The teams last met back in March with a goal from Bethany England for Tottenham the difference between the teams.