@READINGFCWOMEN
MATCH INFO:

Reading FC vs. Chelsea

Madejski Stadium, Reading, England

Kickoff: January 10th, 2020, at 9:00 a.m. ET

WHERE TO WATCH: The FA Player

The FA Women’s Super League is back following the holiday break, with a weekend of full action, including a much-anticipated tilt between Reading FC and Chelsea. Teams have already been making moves off the field during the January transfer window, and now two of the league’s top squads face off on Sunday, January 10th, at Madejski Stadium in Reading, England at 9:00 a.m. EST.

Reading FC certainly has something to prove in Sunday’s match, as they ended the holiday break at sixth place in the table with 13 points and a 3-3-4 record. Only a handful of points separates them from top-tier squads such as Everton and Manchester City, and a win over Chelsea this weekend could provide Reading the opportunity to leap Everton in the standings and move into fifth place.

In their most recent match, Reading defeated Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 behind a brace from Jess Fishlock and a stoppage time goal from Rachel Rowe. Though the win allowed the squad to end on a high note prior to the break, taking a closer look at previous matches against other (and sometimes more challenging) opponents tells a different story. In the last two months, Reading has lost to first place team Manchester United 2-1, tied last place team Bristol City 1-1, and lost to tenth place team West Ham United 3-0. Inconsistency has plagued them throughout the season, and if there is any team that you cannot afford to be inconsistent against, it is Chelsea.

Though Sunday’s match against Chelsea will certainly be a challenging one for Reading, manager Kelly Chambers has high hopes for her squad moving forward.

“We’ve performed against Chelsea and Arsenal in the past and I don’t see why we can’t do it again,” she said in an interview. “We pose a lot of different threats to the top sides and always have. Last season we beat Chelsea on penalties and only just lost out to Arsenal the month after by a very late winner from them.”

Chelsea, on the other hand, has yet to be defeated this year. Led by standout players such as Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Bethany England and Pernille Harder, the squad boasts a 6-0-2 record and currently sits at third place in the table behind Arsenal and Manchester United, despite playing two fewer matches than the squads ahead of them. Just recently, Harder was awarded the honor of Female Football Player of the Year in Denmark for the seventh (yes, the seventh) time.

Chelsea’s most recent wins come against teams such as West Ham United, Everton, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Tottenham, with Chelsea rendering their opponents scoreless in three of those wins. Should Chelsea defeat Reading and Arsenal lose their next match, the Blues can sneak into second place in the table.

The last meeting between these two teams took place a little more than a year ago, with Chelsea recording a comfortable 3-1 win over Reading behind goals from Bethany England, Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert. Fara Williams recorded the lone goal for the Royals. With such a large amount of time having passed since the two sides have clashed, it could be anyone’s game — so set those alarms and clear your Sunday calendar. FAWSL is back.