09 Nov Servette FCCF vs. Chelsea, Women’s Champions League: Preview, team news, how to watch
It’s decades overdue, but one of the fun things about the global growth of women’s soccer is new opponents springing up, sometimes in new places.
For the first time ever, Chelsea have touched down in Switzerland ahead of a Women’s Champions League group stage match. Given that Chelsea are ten games into the season in all competitions and have already faced Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Wolfsburg, it’ll be exciting to see some fresh faces in opposition.
Of course this also means Chelsea will have to be prepared for potential new challenges, particularly away from home. We should however draw some confidence from the other two teams in the group being able to handle the Swiss newbies in fairly comfortable fashion (Juventus 3-0; Wolfsburg 5-0).
If you, like me, still have night-sweats about Barcelona, you’ll be delighted to hear that in their domestic league, Nationalliga A, Servette currently sit fourth. Les Grenat, which Wikipedia informs me is their nickname, have already lost two matches, one to league-leaders Zürich, and another to second place Grasshoppers (also in Zürich).
As for Chelsea, you could probably tell from Emma Hayes’ rotated lineup versus Aston Villa this past Saturday that she won’t be taking any chances. Expect a full strength setup and for Chelsea to be in full-fledged rude guest mode. Shoes on couches, re-seasoning homecooked food, forgetting to flush — that sort of thing.
Date / Time: Tuesday, November 9, 2021, 17.45 GMT; 12:45pm EST; 11:00pm IST
Venue: Stade de Marignac, Grand-Lancy, Switzerland
Forecast: Partly Cloudy; 43°F/6°C
Streaming: DAZN (globally; bookmark this page as all UWCL matches will be shown live on DAZN’s YouTube page)
Servette team news: As noted above, we’re all being introduced to Servette at the same time — other than the fact that they were fairly outclassed in both of their previous group stage games, giving up 24 shots to Juventus and 27 to Wolfsburg (with shots on target also reaching double figures in both cases).
However Servette still can pose a threat, and will surely be looking to finally celebrate their first Champions League goal. In Nationalliga A, their top scorer is forward Jade Boho, who spent some time in Bristol’s academy and with Reading before moving back to her native Spain for a few years and then joining Servette over the summer.
Hayes is certainly keenly aware of their potential threat.
“When you play an unknown you don’t really know [what to expect]. What I’ve learned is to get your details right around your own performance.
“What I’ve seen is that they’re very aggressive, very front-footed in what they are doing and although they haven’t scored in the competition, they have created chances. They are dangerous in wide areas.”
-Emma Hayes; source: BBC Sport
Chelsea team news: To my surprise, Emma Hayes elected to rotate half the team over the weekend by bringing in Beth England, Jess Fleming, Jonna Andersson, Niamh Charles, and Ji So-yun. Sophie Ingle was also back in midfield, while Erin Cuthbert was moved up from wing-back to forward.
Hayes also guessed counterpart Carla Ward’s tactics right, though the Blues still only managed a narrow victory, exiting Bescot Stadium with three points on the back of a 1-0 win thanks to an early goal from Fleming.
Hayes probably did all that with an eye on ensuring three more points in the Champions League today, and to give players a rest before a very hectic November stretch begins.
There have bene no new injury concerns reported in the squad, and Pernille Harder, who had been absent from the last couple matchday squads after picking up a small hip injury on international duty with Denmark, is expected to feature.
There’s also good news regarding Lauren James and Maren Mjelde. Both are still recovering from injuries picked up last season but are now in the phase of building match fitness. This match is likely too soon for either, but as long as there are no setbacks, they should be making their season debuts soon™.
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