Ladies preview: Hosting Tottenham in the cup

We look at this evening’s home cup-tie against a fresh opponent and a special career celebrated...

 

THE FORM

It's three wins out of three for Chelsea in the Continental Tyres Cup, the most recent of which was an 8-0 drubbing of Yeovil Town to clinch our spot in the quarter-finals. We had previously won at Brighton & Hove Albion and Bristol City in the competition.

The Blues currently sit second in the WSL1 table, two points behind Manchester City, following our most recent game in the competition, a 2-2 draw at Reading at the end of November. The top-two sides meet on Sunday at Kingsmeadow, kick-off at 6.30pm.

Tottenham Hotspur arrive in KT1 tonight looking to shake off back-to-back 4-1 home defeats, one of which was against Brighton to leave them needing a result here tonight, although they won their previous two matches in the competition against Bristol and Yeovil.

They are competing in the WSL2 for the first time this season and though they are mid-table, only four points separate them from first-place Doncaster Rovers Belles, who recently defeated them.

Tonight's game at Kingsmeadow kicks off at 7pm. Tickets are £3 adults, £1 juniors and seniors

 

WHAT IS REQUIRED?

Chelsea are top of Group Two South and only a defeat tonight can change that, although it would take a spectacular swing in goal difference to drop us down a place – we are currently +12, having scored 13 and conceded one, and the next two sides are +2 and 0 respectively. Only the top two sides in the table will progress to the quarter-finals and for Spurs, who sit third, the equation is quite simple: anything other than a defeat will be enough to seal a place in the last eight, as Bristol and Brighton, who are also on six points, have played their allotted fixtures.

 

VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Maren Mjelde (pictured below) is looking forward to her first experience of the Chelsea-Spurs rivalry and the Norwegian also pays tribute to the longevity and quality of a very special team-mate.


'I've never played them before, but I'm expecting the same as against Brighton – it's probably like a cup final for them meeting Chelsea,' said the midfielder. 'It will be hard and we'll have a lot of the ball, so we just need to be patient.

'It's a challenge, but we play against that [style] most weeks. It will be different at the weekend against Manchester City, but we need to focus on this game first, get a good result, and then we can look to the next match.

'It's not often you see a women's footballer having a game like this to mark such a long time at the club, so it will be the first time I'm participating in one. Claire [Rafferty] has been in the club for 10 years and she's a lovely girl and a really good footballer, so I'm happy I'll be a part of that tonight.'

 

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

This will be the first meeting between these two London rivals in the Women's Super League era, which began in 2011. The men's team were victorious against their counterparts from north London in August, winning the first Premier League game played at Wembley Stadium thanks to a brace from Marcos Alonso and our development squad won at Spurs last month in the Premier League 2, so victory tonight will make it a Chelsea hat-trick. Our Under-18s also face Tottenham on Saturday.

 

10 YEARS OF RAFF

The game is dedicated to Claire Rafferty, who celebrates 10 years as a Chelsea player and manager Emma Hayes is full of praise for the left-back.

‘It’s fair to say Raff has seen it all in her time here,’ she said. ‘She started off when the Ladies programme received nothing like the support it does now from the football club and she’s had to go through a lot of lows – including two potentially career-ending knee injuries – before experiencing plenty of highs.

‘That Raff is one of the last players standing from that era – along with Drew Spence, who joined a year later but at a much earlier stage in her development – is testament to her character and her ability on the football field.

‘She’s won major honours here, played in the Champions League, helped her country finish third at a World Cup and appeared at an Olympic games. And a lot of it was done while she also worked as an analyst for a major bank! She’s had a wonderful career so far and, at 28, there is still plenty more to come.’

Supporters are requested to take their seats early for a special pre-match presentation. There will also be a commemorative poster which will be handed out at the ground on a first come, first served basis, subject to availability, as well as a few other surprises on the night.