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Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur Women v. Chelsea FC Women

Good news: there are two games this week! Bad news: they’re both against Chelsea.

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Chelsea Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur Women return to action against Chelsea Women on Sunday, April 24 at 2:30 pm UK, 9:30 am ET. It’s the first of two consecutive games against a dominant Chelsea side, and you can watch it for free or catch a full match replay on The FA Player.

Spurs Women will have two opportunities to disrupt Chelsea’s bid for the FAWSL title, but they’ll have to do it with a squad weakened by injury and disruption. Spurs have only played one game in the last six weeks, and it was a heartbreaking loss to Aston Villa. There’s also been a Covid outbreak, and a serious injury to key attacker Ria Percival.

Meanwhile, Chelsea haven’t dropped points since February, they’re first in the league, and they just knocked Arsenal out of the FA cup. Their attackers are terrifyingly prolific, while their defense has somehow gotten even stronger as the season’s gone on, most recently holding Arsenal to zero shots on target in the cup. Chelsea aren’t exactly the team you’d pick to play while you’re trying to right the ship, and you certainly wouldn’t pick to play them twice.

Tottenham Hotspur Women Training Session
Tottenham Hotspur Women haven’t gotten to play very much football recently.
Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

But don’t worry, it’s not all bad. Yes, Chelsea are probably the best team in the league, but they’re not invincible. They’ve drawn with Arsenal and Brighton, and lost to Reading in the league, and Manchester City in the League Cup—all teams Tottenham have gone toe-to-toe with this season. It might take a miracle, but there’s a chance we could get something out of this game.

Even if we don’t, there’s still a lot to learn. Ria Percival was a key creative player in our attack and a strong presser and defender, and Coach Rehanne Skinner will need to make personnel changes to account for her absence. We might see Ash Neville deployed as a winger again, with Asmita Ale or Viktoria Schnaderbeck coming in at the back. Cho So-Hyun has also played in Ria’s position, but she hasn’t shown us much so far this season. Rosella Ayane, Jessica Naz and Angela Addison have had bright moments in attack, but none of them have started consistently. It’ll be interesting to see what Rehanne does, and which of these players steps up.

Spurs have reached unprecedented highs this season, and it’s a real shame we won’t be able to take on this Chelsea team with a full-strength squad. It’ll take a pretty spectacular effort and a bit of luck just to scrap a point, but maybe, just maybe, we can do it. If we can’t, there’s always Thursday.