FA Women’s Super League Preview…

The battle is on! Who will top the table as we head into the festive break? Goal difference keeps Chelsea on top, with Arsenal and Manchester City snapping at their heels…

Saturday, December 16

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (1Noon)

Where to watch – Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Showcase

It will be a case of deja vu for the teams this weekend, having faced off midweek in the Continental Tyres League Cup Group D. Tottenham held Arsenal to a 3-3 draw before the Gunners claimed an extra point by winning the resulting penalty shootout 7-6.

After their statement win against Chelsea in front of an FAWSL record crowd at the Emirates, Arsenal must keep up their momentum if they are to keep hold of their chance to win the league this season.

Add to this the extra energy of a North London Derby at Tottenham’s showpiece stadium where the chance to disrupt their team’s title hopes would be all the sweeter; the stage is set for a massive day in North London.

Speaking to www.arsenal.com, Gunners boss, Jonas Eidevall explained: “This is what we want to do, we want to play games that matter a lot to both us and to our supporters. Saturday we know is going to be an important game, it’s our last game before the Christmas break so let’s finish off as strong as possible.”

After successive heavy defeats at the hands of the two Manchester sides, Tottenham must keep their focus if they are to get something from the game.

Robert Vilahamn is hoping to the boost gained from their performance in their midweek Continental Cup match further as they face Arsenal again on a much larger stage.

Speaking to www.tottenhamhotspur.com, he said: “This game gave us a lot of self-confidence that we’re back again – we can play out, we can score goals, we can defend, we can block shots, so I think it was a good way to bounce back and to make sure we have good energy for Saturday. It’s going to be the biggest game I’ve ever coached, I’m looking forward to being at that stadium and hopefully, we get a lot of fans.”

The teams last met in the WSL back in March with Arsenal winning 5-1 against their traditional rivals.

Sunday, December 17

Bristol City v Chelsea – Aston Gate (2pm) 

Where to watch – The FA Player

Chelsea were in Champions League action midweek, and after being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Swedish side BK Hacken, The Blues will want to hit the ground running in the WSL after putting their loss against Arsenal behind them. 

Bristol City are just a point off the bottom of the table above West Ham. They must brush off their loss on penalties Reading in the Continental Tyres League Cup if they are to attempt to cause an upset against the current title holders.

The Robins have struggled on their return to the WSL from the promotion this season, but manager Lauren Smith is encouraged by the improving performances.

Speaking to BBC Sport earlier in the season, she said: “We’re scoring goals – that’s coming to us and I know that will get us points one way or the other. There is part of us that wants to make sure we are tight and resilient at the back that it is harder for teams to score against us, and that is still something we’re working towards. But at the same time, we can’t lose all of our attacking threat.“

Chelsea’s star striker Sam Kerr says the team knows what they need to do to move on from last weekend’s defeat and that being busy with games is always a positive for the squad.

Speaking to www.chelseafc.com, she said: “‘We know that we have to bounce back. We’re Chelsea, we’ve been here before and we will bounce back. Although it did hurt, we’re not going to let one loss derail us or get us down for too long. We have a run of games in the next 10 days or so that are all super important.”

The teams last met in the WSL back in February 2021, with the Robins suffering a 5-0 defeat at Twerton Park.

Leicester City v West Ham United – King Power Stadium (3pm)

Where to watch – The FA Player

Leicester City were in Continental League Tyres action midweek with a tough match against Manchester United. After being without a win in all competitions since October, a 3-1 loss to United will mean they will have to bounce back ahead of this weekend’s clash.

Leicester City manager Willie Kirk had his plans on how to tweak things to cope with the extra fixture and still keep the energy of their game plan.

Speaking to www.lcfc.com ahead of the Manchester United game, he said: “How we approach this game will be a little bit different being a Thursday, so we’ve got to think how it will impact the West Ham United game on Sunday. We’re travelling on the day instead and staying over after the game, which is a little bit different for us but we think it’s the best way to approach this game to be fit and ready come Sunday when we face West Ham”.

Sitting at the bottom of the table is not where West Ham hoped to be when they started the season and may be hoping to take advantage of The Foxes’ extra midweek game. 

Three points on the board ahead of the festive break would be a huge boost for the struggling Hammers.

For West Ham’s Jess Zui, their last game against Everton was her first time on the pitch since October 2022 due to a serious ACL injury. It was a positive day personally for the midfielder, and she hopes for a better result this weekend.

Speaking to www.whufc.com, she said: “It’s a bittersweet moment. It would have been nice to have come away with a win, but it’s great to be back with the girls and get a start under my belt. I’m thankful that Rehanne gave me the opportunity to start today, and hopefully, we can move on from this game and pick up some points next week against Leicester.”

Last time out, West Ham took the three points, with a 2-1 win over the Foxes. Goals for West Ham came from Dagný Brynjarsdóttir and an own goal from Sophie Howard.