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FA WSL Man City vs Chelsea on Feb. 23

FA WSL Man City vs Chelsea on Feb. 23: match preview, schedules and broadcast listings

February 21, 2020 By Juan Aguerrevere
In this preview for the FA Women's Super League fixture between Manchester City and Chelsea, we will look at their form, schedules and talk about Arsenal's postponed match with Reading.

Matchday 17 of the FA Women's Super League will create havoc at the top of the table as league leaders Manchester City will be taking on second-placed Chelsea at home.

The Blues have a game in hand, meaning that a loss can potentially keep them a point from Man City If they beat Manchester United in their make-up game. Anyhow, most of the pressure lies on Manchester City's shoulders. A win will secure the first position, but a draw could become a ticking timebomb for the Citizens if Chelsea does capitalize on their game in hand.

Manchester City vs Chelsea: Match Preview

Manchester City is coming off a narrow win over Bristol City in league play. The Citizens were able to capitalize when Caroline Weir struck the ball into the area from a free-kick meeting center back Gemma Bonner who volleyed the ball in the goal. Apart from that attempt, Man City failed to come up with crystal clear chances with 23-year-old goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley saving the rest of their attempts on goal.

It is obvious that Nick Cushing's departure has not had the best effect on the Citizen fans and players. New Manchester City manager Alan Mahon shared his reflections ahead of the clash against Chelsea after what some may say was a poor result the week prior.

"I've been here a while now and it's not about me trying to be clever. It's about continuity and simplicity. Nothing was broken so we carry on with the process we have to prepare for Sunday."

Emma Hayes' Chelsea, on the other hand, cannot be complacent with their unbeaten league run. This Chelsea side has dogged the league up to this stage winning 12 games and drawing two. Sure, it has been a great feat so far, but it is not the right time to envision themselves lifting the FA WSL trophy.

In the reverse fixture back on Dec. 8, 2019, it was Manchester City who converted first via Caroline Weir in the 59th minute despite Chelsea dominating the encounter. But the Blues tenacious character paid off as forward Bethany England and defender Maren Mjelde each scored a goal and helped Chelsea overcome the one-goal deficit.

Center back Millie Bright spoke ahead of the upcoming clash and knows how important winning all the matches in this league is.

"It is a big game [versus Manchester City] but our mentality all season has been every game is a final and that is the mentality we will have again," Bright said. "The season has shown if you drop points you will be relying on others to get results for you and that is not a position we want to be in, we want to rely on ourselves to go and win the league and winning puts us in the position to do that."

Remainder of the FA WSL schedule for Chelsea and Man City

Bright is right about relying on their skill and efforts rather than on other sides. It's not that easy being in the position that Chelsea finds itself in. One point away from first with a game in hand and about to play leaders Man City.

Chelsea has a tough schedule as it is still involved in two other competitions – the FA WSL Cup final vs Arsenal and the FA Women's Cup quarter-final against Everton. Their last eight league matches include two against Everton, Tottenham, Brighton & Hove Albion, Reading and Liverpool.

Manchester City, meanwhile, will solely focus on the league having been knocked out of the FA WSL Cup by Arsenal. Also, Mahon's side is yet to be matched up with another team for Man City's FA Women's Cup quarter-final fixture following several postponed matches.

The rest of the season should be straightforward for the Citizens if they are able to take all three points in home ground on Sunday. Their final six matches will be against Liverpool, Manchester United, Reading, West Ham, Tottenham and Brighton.

Arsenal vs Reading: Postponed

Postponed matches are the current epidemic in women's English professional football, and it will remain this way if teams choose to not upgrade their current home grounds. 

Whether it be to find a better stadium to share with a men's team, building one from scratch or just simply renovating the one they currently use - even if it is not owned - this cannot keep happening for the sake of the league. 

I'll explain to you how this ongoing phenomenon impacts the league by using Arsenal vs Reading as an example.

Arsenal and Reading are third and fourth in the league respectively. With Manchester City and Chelsea facing one another, this game is huge given the fact that the Gunners are just two points away from Chelsea and Man City. 

What many FA WSL fans saw as a fantastic football weekend has now just downgraded to just Manchester City facing Chelsea. Don't get me wrong, this is still a hell of a match. But I'm just sitting here as I envisage the two matches being played simultaneously with the outcome of each game having a huge impact on the league. Killing that excitement will not retain hype for the league.

There are ways to fix this concurrent problem. The teams that do not have good enough home grounds  should look into fixing them, building new grounds or reach an agreement with the team it belongs to in renovating it.

Arsenal will play Lewes on February 23 at 1 p.m. instead, a match that was supposed to be played on the prior weekend.

 

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