FA Women’s Super League Preview…

As the teams head into the international break, there are some tantalising match-ups to come this weekend as the battle for the top of the table continues…

Friday, February 16

Chelsea v Manchester City – Kingsmeadow (7:15pm) 

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

Chelsea are flying high at the top of the table and with Manchester City on a ten-game winning streak and their closest rival for the title, it’s set to be a big night at Kingsmeadow.

Blues manager, Emma Hayes, played down the talk of the game being a title decider, knowing there is a long way to go before the end of the season.

Talking to BBC Sport, she said: “What I’ve learned over the years is not to change between games, because you shouldn’t place more importance on one fixture over another. We like playing at Kingsmeadow, we know our fanbase will be big for us. We understand the opponent we’re playing, but our focus is only on getting ourselves right – and if we do that we know we’ll make it a competitive game.”

City have a chance to go top of the table should they defeat Chelsea and secure a superior goal difference.

Manager, Gareth Taylor knows how important the game can be and that anything can happen in any game and he is confident in his team.

Speaking to www.mancity.com, he said: “We’re excited for the challenge. I’ve been so impressed with the dynamic of the team. Ten wins is phenomenal in all competitions. It’s sparked high confidence and we’re excited about that final one before the break.”

The teams last met back in October with the points shared in an eventful 1-1 which saw the most cards ever issued in a WSL match by Emily Heaslip, including two red cards for Manchester City.

Saturday, February 17

Arsenal v Manchester United – Emirates Stadium (12:30pm) 

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

It’s been a miserable few weeks for Arsenal, as they saw their title hopes slide further from their grasp after their first-ever defeat at the hands of West Ham, followed by a narrow defeat to Manchester City in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Retaining the Continental Tyres League Cup is now their only realistic chance at silverware this season, and they successfully secured their place in the semi-final after beating London City Lionesses 4-0 mid-week in their postponed fixture.

Focus must now turn to strong performances in the WSL to secure the all-important Champions League spot – particularly in front of a sold-out Emirates Stadium. It will be the first sell-out for a WSL fixture held at the stadium.

One of Arsenal’s summer signings, Cloé Lacasse picked up a brace in their Continental Cup win midweek and spoke about how important the morale boost is for the team ahead of the historic sell-out.

Speaking to www.arsenal.com she said “I think the whole team is very excited to go to the Emirates this weekend. We can’t wait to see what’s gonna happen out there with the supporters behind us. It’s a big match for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”

It’s been a bit of a bumpy road for Manchester United so far this season, but having beaten the Gunners, on their last trip to the Emirates, The Red Devils will be looking to repeat the win and put Arsenal’s title hopes well and truly out of their reach.

Manager, Marc Skinner knows that it could be a difficult day in front of a massive home crowd, but has confidence his team can find a way past the noise.

Speaking to www.manutd.com, he said: “Arsenal are a difficult team. We know they play nice football and have fantastic individuals. We’re going to have to energise and we have to try and silence a massive crowd. If not, it could be a long day. So we know the challenge we’re going to face. But we have to be the ones that can get under Arsenal’s skin and make sure that we try and perform to the best of our ability.”

In their last meeting back in October, the teams shared the points in a 2-2 draw at Leigh Sports Village. Goals for United came from Leah Galton and Melvine Malard, for Arsenal, Stina Blacksteinus put The Gunners ahead in the 14th minute and Canadian international Cloé Lacasse salvaged the draw with her injury-time equaliser.

Sunday, February 18

Everton v West Ham – Walton Hall Park (1pm) 

Where to watch – The FA Player

Everton are without a win in their last four WSL games and are skirting closer to the relegation zone than they would like.

With a confident 7-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup last weekend, manager Brian Sorenson will be hoping for another success as they host the visitors from East London.

Everton’s assistant manager Stephen Neligan oversaw the away win in the FA Cup due to Brian Sorenson serving a suspension after their WSL match with Chelsea. He is looking forward to the home support and the energy the fans bring to the team.

Speaking to evertonfc.com “It’ll be nice to be home, I think every game is important in the league, there’s no teams you can think it’s going to be an easy game. West Ham is a team that we know their quality and we’ll be preparing for them. It’ll be nice to be back in front of our fans.”

West Ham had their confidence boosted in their first-ever victory against Arsenal in their last WSL match, and a win against Everton would do wonders to keep their heads above water and out of the relegation battle.

Their January signings of Katrina Gorry and Kristie Mewis provided a real boost to their game play and manager Rehanne Skinner is hoping their win over Arsenal was the start of things to come for the remainder of the season.

Speaking to www.wufc.com, she said: “I’ve said all season that when you start to get consistency, you will get the benefits of the results and performances. This weekend is another game and we’re looking to get as many points out of the games remaining for the rest of the season as we possibly can.”

Last time out, Everton got one better over The Hammers, with a 1-0 win at Chigwell Construction Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa – Brisbane Road (2pm)

Where to watch – The FA Player

Tottenham are currently 6th in the table but are without a win after their historic win over Arsenal before the festive break.

Manager Robert Vilahamn has been building a philosophy and a way of playing since he joined the club and is focused on performances as well as results as his team searches for their first league win of 2024.

Speaking to www.vavel.com, he said: “I want to focus on being a better team and playing better football, because – in the long end – we want to compete against the top three. For me, it’s very important to not look at the table so much, because then you lose the steps you need to take to create a winning team.”

He continued “I’m very much focused on how we want to perform and I want to bring players that connect to how we want to play. I’m going to stick to that.”

After a slow start to the season, Aston Villa have picked up more points in the past month and are now only 6 points behind The Lilywhites in the table. 

A boost from reaching the semi-final of the Continental Tyres League Cup will also put winning on their mind come Sunday, though they will be without their leading goal scorer Rachel Daly, due to a suspension.

Carla Ward has confidence that her team are up for the challenge to make the remaining games as successful as possible.

Speaking to www.avfc.com, she said: “I’ve got a group of players that I’m ready to work with for the rest of the season. They’re ready to fight and we have to stick together. That’s one thing we will do and we will do our best to get as many points on the board as possible.”

The teams last met in October, with Tottenham securing the three points with a 4-2 win at the Poundland Bescot Stadium.