Five reasons why Chelsea will defend their WSL title
1. Strength in depth
Chelsea boast one of the strongest squads in the WSL, by far. Even with a few injuries and absences, quality runs deeps in this team.
Last week, Chelsea blew away Juventus in a pre-season friendly at Kingsmeadow. On the day, Chelsea were without England stars Carly Telford, Anita Asante, Millie Bright and Drew Spence, while new signings Jess Carter and Adelina Engman were on the bench.
Chelsea look strong even after the departures of Katie Chapman, who retired at the end of last season, and Claire Rafferty, who has joined West Ham.
Juventus have recruited former Chelsea star Eni Aluko, but she struggled to get much of the ball in a game in which the Blues dominated possession.
2. Maren Mjelde is one of the best
Not only do Chelsea have one of the most exciting players in the women’s game, and last year’s player of the season, Fran Kirby, but they also boast a dangerous midfield trio of Ji So-Yun, Karen Carney and Maren Mjelde.
Maren Mjelde curled in a lovely top-corner strike on Wednesday night, showing why she is one of the best players in the league.
3. Kingsmeadow draws big crowds
Despite some shocking scheduling over the last few seasons, Chelsea Women have consistently managed to draw decent crowds to Kingsmeadow Stadium in south-west London.
A healthy crowd – made up primarily of parents and kids looking for that perfect school holiday activity- turned up to watch the game on Wednesday night.
Last year, the ground hosted a record crowd for Chelsea’s Women’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City. More of the same can be expected this season if scheduling goes their way.
4. City are Chelsea’s only threat
The FA will hope that the restructure of women’s football will reduce the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in the WSL. However, the top-tier divide will remain between those that are associated with wealthy men’s clubs and the rest.
This season, it looks like Manchester City will once again be Chelsea’s main threat. Arsenal’s historical dominance may be fading but they still pose a threat and other teams in the league are slowly gaining ground.
Liverpool, West Ham and Everton have strengthened their squads this summer and will push last year’s top two all the way, but Chelsea’s creativity in midfield and exciting talent upfront should see them retain the title.
5. Emma Hayes is unstoppable
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has impressively returned to the dugout just months after giving birth. Hayes’ quick return sums up her competitive personality and professional attitude.
She has been at the helm since 2012, claiming two league titles, the Spring Series title and two Women’s FA Cups.
The 2018-19 season is sure to be another fruitful campaign for Hayes and her side.
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