Going into women’s football weekend, the FAWSL saw a number of hotly contested matches between some of England’s biggest clubs including Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Everton. However, arguably the biggest game of the weekend was an affair between Manchester United Women and Chelsea Women. The two teams have been in good form coming into this encounter and three points would make a statement in their own right. Chelsea would cement their position on top of the league while a win for Manchester United would put the league on notice.
Chelsea came into the game having made one change from their last league match against West Ham. Fran Kirby was relegated to the bench giving Ramona Bachmann a rare start in attack. The Blues lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation to balance their attacking prowess and defensive solidarity.
Chelsea’s 4-1-4-1 gives them several attacking benefits, namely their ability to field two strikers that can complement each other and the team. While Bethany England is a natural centre-forward who prefers to make intelligent off the ball movements, Bachmann was tasked with putting in a tough shift on the right. Their midfield four has established a good understanding between them with the back four a reliable defensive outfit. Chelsea have become a well-balanced team with a mixture of attacking flair and defensive solidarity. The double-pivot of Ji-So yun and Sophie Ingle provide the perfect balance to protect Millie Bright and Magladena Eriksson and support England and Bachmann. The addition of Erin Cuthbert added extra energy and work rate into midfield.
Manchester United Women lined up in their traditional 4-2-3-1 system having opted for the same team that beat Reading in the last round of fixtures. Lauren James continued to lead the line being supported by Leah Galton, Jackie Groenen, and Kirsty Hanson. Their counter-attacking tactics have been perfectly suited to this system making Casey Stoney’s side a very impressive and difficult outfit to beat.
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