Ladies have tough games ahead

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Emma Hayes (right), manager of Chelsea Ladies, embraces Fran Kirby


Tim Harrison

By Tim Harrison

With the men gallivanting around the world, it's a chance to look at Chelsea Ladies, who start their season on the 24th at home to Bristol City at Kingsmeadow, Kingston.

The lunchtime game is BBC-televised, but tickets are on sale, via the Chelsea website, at £6 (£3 concs).

Emma Hayes’ team gave themselves a tough pre-season, with ties against Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg.

Yet two defeats is almost irrelevant; it was terrific experience to play Europe’s most formidable women’s sides.

But the UEFA Women’s Champions League draw has paired the Blues with Bayern Munich in the first round, meaning European action at Kingsmeadow in the first week of October.

Pre-season gave England players Millie Bright, Fran Kirby and Karen Carney a chance, with the Blues playing a back three with Ji So-Yun up front.

The experience gained, and observations made, will prove useful in plotting European glory.

These are fascinating times for Chelsea Ladies as the women’s game goes from strength to strength.

“I think you can see in every position we’re now assembling a group that is going to compete with the top clubs in Europe,” said Hayes.

Meanwhile, the late-night signing of Danny Drinkwater, as the men’s transfer window creaked shut, broadens the Blues’ midfield options, but crucially re-establishes a supremely productive partnership with N’Golo Kante from Leicester’s pinch-yourself title win. And who’s up next? Inevitably, Leicester.

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

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