West Ham Women expert assesses visit of WSL giants Chelsea
We’re delighted to welcome Michelle Irons as our exclusive West Ham Women’s expert. Each week she’ll be giving her views on the biggest talking points at Victoria Road…
After the tightly contested away win in the FA Cup against Reading, West Ham Women expert Michelle Irons looks ahead to the visit of Chelsea in the league.
The reigning champions are arguably the toughest assignment going, despite missing out on the Continental Cup this week.
Emma Hayes’ side won the domestic quadruple last season, and including the 2017 Spring Series has won four of the last five league titles.
The Hammers overcame opposition who are above them in the table with the cup victory at Reading, but the Berkshire side are two places up in sixth, while Chelsea sit second, having played a game fewer than West Ham.
But they are not at their imperious best this season and have been shocked by the Irons’ last opponents’ Reading, so there is the potential to spring a surprise.
Speaking exclusively to West Ham Zone Michelle Irons is not massively confident of overcoming the midweek visitors: “Chelsea at home up next – this is a midweek fixture against the high-flying blues who come in off the back of a loss in the Conti Cup final against Man City.
“Chelsea have only lost two league games this season and I’m sure are determined to get three points in Dagenham to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top.
“I’d like to see us play Abbey-Leigh Stringer and Dagný Brynjarsdóttir to nullify their threat.
“I hope we can give them a good game, but it is more like us going through the motions this time out.
“However, with West Ham you never know.”
The return of Adriana Leon is a boost for the hosts, and Brynjarsdóttir is in form having missed the last meeting between the sides.
A 2-0 victory for Chelsea in late January was a tight affair, as Olli Harder’s side made it hard for the reigning champions, who will be strong favourites.
But with a win last time out for the Hammers, playing at home, and the visitors deflated by cup final defeat, the door is open to get something from the game.
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