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FA WSL Preview: Everton vs Chelsea | Toffees look to dent Chelsea’s title hopes with win

Everton host league-leaders in what promises to be an intriguing contest 

Birmingham City Women v Everton Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League
Everton handily defeated Birmingham City, 4–0, in their most recent WSL fixture.
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Everton Women face fellow WSL side Chelsea on Wednesday, March 17th at 3:00 p.m. EST/7:00 p.m. GMT, with the game being played at Walton Hall Park. While a fire broke out on March 12th at the Toffees’ home stadium, the match against Chelsea is expected to be played; plastic netting and scaffolding were set ablaze, but the field and changing facilities were unaffected. Liverpool police are currently investigating the origins of the fire, which was started intentionally.

“A lot of work has gone into Walton Hall Park to move there,” said Everton Manager Willie Kirk. “We see it as not just being for us but for the community. It’s really disappointing people would target that as something to try to destroy. Luckily, there is not as much damage as there could have been.”

After struggling for a majority of the winter — the team went 1–4–4 from October 18 through February 14 — the Toffees rallied for an emphatic 4–0 drubbing over slumping Birmingham City last week. And since a one-all draw with Reading on Valentine’s Day, the Merseyside outfit boast a record of 2–0–1 and have scored seven goals (the only loss in that three-game span was a 1–0 defeat to Manchester City).

Positive momentum is key when preparing for a team as prolific as Chelsea, which has been dominant in the league (one loss with a league-best goal differential of plus-41) and Europe (they bested Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 with an aggregate of 3–1). Blues Boss Emma Hayes arguably has the most talented roster in Europe, maybe even in the women’s game — no hyperbole there.

The London club can rotate a squad of two Ballon d’Or candidates in Ji So-Yun and Pernille Harder, England national team standouts Millie Bright, Beth England and Fran Kirby and are led up top by one of the most prolific scorers in the world in Sam Kerr. A stacked roster and superb coaching result in Chelsea scoring 3.06 goals per game and conceding just 0.5 times per match — their margin of victory of 2.56 leads the WSL. They also have not conceded in league play since February 7th.

Ahead of Wednesday’s affair, Everton will be without two regulars — goalkeeper Sandy MacIver — who on Monday signed a two-year extension with the club — is recovering from a concussion suffered last Thursday against Birmingham, and Danielle Turner remains out while rehabbing a calf problem she picked up on Sunday the 7th versus Man City. Poppy Pattinson again will hold down the left back spot, and experienced backup shot-stopper Tinja-Riikka Korpela is more than capable of filling in for MacIver in net.

Last Meeting

Sunday’s meeting marks the third and final encounter between the two sides this season in all competitions. They first met in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, a 2–1 victory for the Toffees. And while the Liverpool side won the day in late September, the current Champions avenged their cup loss with a dominant 4–0 league win in early November. Everton will need some fortuitous bounces to beat Chelsea, but it can be done.

Match Details

Competition: FA Women’s Super League

Date and start time: Wednesday, March 17th at 3:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. GMT

Stadium: Walton Hall Park, Liverpool, England, United Kingdom

Capacity: 2,200 (behind closed doors)

How to Watch/Listen

TV & Radio: N/A

Match Center: evertontv

Live stream: evertontv (free for members, registration required), FA WSL (free, registration required)

Lineups TBA