Karen Carney’s retirement has led to Sweden’s Magda Eriksson being handed the Chelsea armband. She’s a brilliant player and person. In case you missed it, here’s Nick Ames’s summer interview with Eriksson and Denmark’s Pernille Harder, in which they talk about their kiss in Paris that went viral, what it was like coming out and joining Common Goal.
The Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes, believes the grand stage will suit her team more than Spurs:
The slight advantage we have is a bit more experience and we’re used to playing in front of bigger crowds. We’ve got a lot of international players that are used to be playing at major tournaments and competing for major trophies. So this is not anything that they are experiencing for the first time. I’m looking forward to a packed house and to welcome a lot of new fans who are coming to the game. Sing as loud as you can, I want to hear your voices and players will want to too.”
Some more pre-match reading for you as we wait for kick-off. Here’s Arsenal’s Daniëlle van de Donk on why she thinks the reigning WSL champions will be a grooved machine this season:
So the Norwegian forward Reiten is straight into the starting XI for Chelsea, while Davison, a summer signing from Reading, starts for Spurs. The Tottenham players got a warm welcome as they arrived at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea: Berger, Blundell, Bright, Ingle, England, Ji, Reiten, Eriksson (c), Engman, Mjelde, Spence. Subs: Telford, Thorisdottir, Asante, Andersson, Cooper, Cuthbert, Fleming.
Spurs: Spencer, Neville, Schillaci (c), Godfrey, Worm, Percival, Furness, Haines, Davison, Quinn, Graham. Subs: Morgan, Peplow, Leon, Filbey, McLean, Ayane, Addison.
Hello. Welcome to coverage of today’s WSL derby match between Chelsea and Tottenham. It’s an intriguing opener for both sides, given that Spurs are new to the league and have brought in nine new players, seven of whom have WSL experience. The most noteworthy is Gemma Davison, who has bags of experience and can play in midfield or at full-back. Her influence will be key as head coaches Karen Hills and Juan Amoros try to mould a cohesive side with so many new recruits. Davison won the Double twice with Chelsea, too, so if you’re looking for narrative in today’s game, she provides plenty of it. You can read more about her here:
While Spurs might not be likely to challenge for the WSL title this season, there’s a feeling that Chelsea might. They were narrowly beaten in the semi-finals of the Champions League by untouchable Lyon last season but patchy domestic form led to them failing to qualify this time round. While that is a blow, it means they can put all their focus on the league. Chelsea’s experienced manager, Emma Hayes, has shunned upheaval and kept a talented squad mostly intact, as well as adding the lethal Norwegian forward Guro Reiten to the squad. She scored 51 goals in 53 appearances for Toppserien champions LSK Kvinner. If she can transfer that form to the WSL, Chelsea could be a real force.
Today’s game is being played at Stamford Bridge, where 40,000 tickets have been given away to fans. Yesterday’s Manchester derby attracted 31,000 to the Etihad Stadium, a new record for the WSL. Can today’s game beat it? We’ll soon see but, in any case, here’s Suzanne Wrack on why more WSL games should be played in bigger stadiums:
And while we wait for kick-off, why not peruse our club-by-club guide to the season ahead: