Women Super League Previews of Chelsea

Plan

How does Chelsea maintain their dominance in women’s football in England? This is the only question that needs to be asked to the team at the beginning of the new season, but since it is aiming for a fifth title in a row, it is not so much a question as an expectation of what will happen. Manager Emma Hayes is the master at building teams capable of winning at their best or in transition and even in delay.

Last season was less of a cruise than the previous ones, with Fran Kirby and Millie Bright among those on the absence list for parts of the campaign, but they still ended with a WSL and FA Cup double.

As always, they have a goal on their backs, but goalkeeper Zecira Musovic says: “It’s a privilege to play for such a big club.” She adds: “When you come to the club, you know what the requirements are, what is expected of you, and winning everything possible is something we don’t need to talk about. It’s an unwritten thing for us.”

This will also be the goal this season, with the Champions League being the elusive trophy. Hayes added experienced Canadian defender Ashley Lawrence of Paris Saint-Germain and exciting American forward Catarina Macario to cover reigning champions Pernille Harder and Magda Eriksson. Chelsea also added young talents Mia Fishel, German midfielder Sjoeke Nüsken and English goalkeeper Hannah Hampton.

As part of his recruitment process, Hayes focuses on the type of person a player is, which Johanna Rytting Kaneryd describes as the “key to the team’s success”. You don’t just need good players; you also need good people. I think you can say from the outside [that we have this].”

It will be interesting to see how Hayes leads the team through a first season without club captain Eriksson and manages his team’s rotation as they once again battle on four fronts. Can Chelsea win everything? The Champions League may be a step too far, but you can never bet against it.

The Manager

A champion in team and personnel management, Emma Hayes has a trophy cabinet that most managers in the game envy to demonstrate these skills. Hayes is as good at her game analysis as her TV pundit shows. Last season, his tactics were called into question after Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal in the Continental Cup final, but it was a rare slip in an otherwise extraordinarily impressive tactical advantage throughout the campaign.

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