FA Women’s Super League Preview…

The FAWSL resumes after an international break that saw heartbreak for England as their failure to top their UEFA Nations League table, despite a thumping 6-0 over Scotland in their last game meant we will not see a Team GB at the Olympics in Paris next year….

Sunday, December 10

Arsenal v Chelsea – The Emirates (12.30pm) 

Where to watch – BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Website

It’s set to be a massive game in North London as Chelsea fight to maintain their unbeaten run with the Gunners snapping at their heels after a run of good results. With over 57,000 tickets sold, Arsenal are on course to beat the current WSL attendance record of 54,115, which they set on their opening game of the season against Liverpool. 

With that game ending in a shock defeat, The Gunners will be hoping to give the home crowd more to cheer about come Sunday afternoon.

Manager Jonas Eidevall, who won WSL Manager of the Month for November, knows the game is massive for the team’s title hopes – with the chance of another sold-out Emirates to support his players.

Speaking to BBC Sport he said “It’s a big test but that’s what we want – to compete and challenge. Hopefully, we’ll get a sell-out and we’re going to leave everything out there. We’re under no illusions that they are probably going to be our toughest opponents so far this season. We have to be the best version of ourselves and we’re going to do everything in our power to be that.”

Emma Hayes’ sights are set on ending her tenure at Chelsea with a 5th successive WSL title and her and her team are unlikely to be phased by the prospect of a packed Emirates being against them.

She has a solid plan for success this season, as she looks to go out on a high before she heads to her new role as manager of the US National Women’s team.

Speaking to Sky Sports after their recent win against Liverpool she said “They know my aim has been to build a team this year where we could move seamlessly between games, so I’ve been doing some different things with coaching to make sure everyone’s even more ready. 

She continued: “I’m responsible for the attacking play of the team and I’m really happy to see the team carry out the ideas we’ve been working on and I can see we’re growing in confidence.”

The teams last met in May at the Kingsmeadow with Chelsea winning 2-0 against an injury-stricken Gunners. Goals came from Guro Reiten and Magda Eriksson.

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

Where to watch – The FA Player

Times are tough for West Ham as they languish in the relegation zone, only above bottom-placed Bristol City thanks to goal difference.

West Ham manager Rehanne Skinner acknowledged the break in the WSL had not come at the best time for her team but hoped there was also a good chance to focus on improving aspects of performance to lift the team up the table.

Speaking to www.whufc.com before the international break she said: “The timing and the volume of games that the players have had makes it difficult. We’re going to have a lot of senior players away, which will put a lot of demands on them. For the players that are still here, we get an opportunity to work on some of the individual parts that they all want to keep moving forward with.”

Everton have similarly not had a good run overall and have only won 1 of their last five games in all competitions. They will be hoping to take advantage of a struggling West Ham side to build on their last win against Aston Villa.

It proved an excellent boost for the struggling side and Everton’s Republic of Ireland international Heather Payne is hoping it will give the team the push they need.

Speaking to www.evertonfc.com before the international break she said “When you go away on an international break it can be tough if you’ve lost the game before because you don’t want to carry that momentum into the break. This has to be a real big positive for us. We’ll come back from the international break and ready to go again.”

In their last meeting back in January, the Irons suffered a 3-0 defeat at Walton Hall Park.

Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United – Brisbane Road (6:45pm) 

Where to watch – Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Ultra HDR, Sky Showcase

Tottenham Hotspur suffered a thrashing at the hands of Manchester City before the international break so may not be relishing taking on the red side of Manchester quite so soon.

The Lilywhites manager Robert Vilahamn has been pragmatic in his response to the crushing defeat and is adamant that the outlook is still positive for the team, having only lost two games so far this season, versus the dismal results in a similar point last season.

Speaking to BBC Sport before the international break he said “When we come back we will have a good game plan for United. We are not scared of losing 7-0 again, we have to try and dictate the game. Playing against the best teams in this league is what we need right now, we need to take steps and learn. United have good players, we need a good game plan for that.”

United have only lost one game so far this season, but three draws have meant their fifteen points leave them in fourth, trailing seven points behind leaders Chelsea.

The side has managed to get the results, but manager Marc Skinner knows the team is still building to get to their best this season.

Speaking to www.manutd.com, he said: “We’re still trying to click, we’re still trying to get into the rhythm we want to but I am seeing massive strides forward. I’m actually pretty happy with the performances.”

Last time out, Manchester United took the three points with a 3-0 win over The Lilywhites at Leigh Sports Village. Goals came from Leah Galton, Alessia Russo and Nikita Parris.