@janinebeckie

Kickoff is April 21st, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. EST

The 2020/21 FAWSL season is coming to a close, with match week 20 out of 22 upon us, and all eyes on the clash between second-place Manchester City and first-place Chelsea. Only two points separate the two sides, and this match will likely be the decider in which team brings home the league title.

Both teams are going into the match with fantastic form. The hosts have won their last 12 league games, with an impressive win against rivals Manchester United and Arsenal, solidifying themselves in the top two. 

While they were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona, Man City won the second leg 2-1 and seemingly learned from their mistakes in their earlier 3-0 loss. 

Chelsea have not lost a game since February 7th. In that time, they’ve won six league game, progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League (beating Wolfsburg 5-1 on aggregate), and are well on their way to the fifth round of the Women’s FA Cup after a 5-0 win against the London City Lionesses. 

Both Emma Hayes and Gareth Taylor know that they must set up their respective teams in a way to exploit their opponent’s weaknesses. A task much easier said than done. 

Hayes will rely on her dominant front three of Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby, and Pernille Harder to exploit Manchester City’s defense.

With the arrival of Abby Dahlkemper, City’s backline has improved. Throughout the season, however, they’ve often found themselves unable to defend for the full ninety minutes, leading to late equalizers and winners against them. 

For Taylor, he will hope that Caroline Weir and Sam Mewis can win the midfield battle against Chelsea, ensuring that they have more possession of the ball and more chances to score.

Given that neither team is expected to lose any other game the rest of the way, the stakes of this match couldn’t be higher. It’s a de facto title showdown, and while both teams have impressed so far, the story of the season will be decided Wednesday.