Women’s football in England is back and the first cup of the season comes in the form of the Community Shield. Whilst this cup has been a regular fixture in men’s football, there hasn’t been a women’s edition since 2008. After clinching the title in unusual circumstances, our Blues women will be facing off against familiar foes Manchester City at Wembley tomorrow to continue our run of silverware. Here’s how I think that Emma Hayes should line up her side to do just that.
Looking back on previous matches against the opposition, Emma tends to go with the 4-4-2 formation. However, she does sometimes switch things up and with this match happening before the start of the season, she may test a system out. For arguments sake, the lineup has been selected for a 4-4-2 diamond formation.
We have two great goalkeepers on the team that Emma has called on whenever she needs them. However, I think that Ann-Katrin Berger will keep her place after the player of the match performance in the Conti Cup final with Chelsea finally banishing their Conti Cup hoodoo for once and all.
Once again, I’m sticking somewhat with the Conti Cup line up. Millie Bright, an incredibly solid defender and able to pop up with a goal or two, will partner up with Maria Thorisdottir at the back. Magdalena Eriksson, our captain, will be out on the left with Maren Mjelde out on the right. Millie is one of the many players over the break that have signed a new contract and will be with the club until 2023. Of course, should Emma wish to switch it up, this leaves Jess Carter, Hannah Blundell and Jonna Andersson to call upon.
Emma has signed a few midfield reinforcements since the season ended. Melanie Leupolz, Niamh Charles and Jessie Fleming have joined the Blues from elsewhere and Charlotte Fleming has made the step up from the academy after breaking through last season. Some of these players may feature but it’s more likely that they will be substituted on. The midfield I have gone for is Sophie Ingle, Guro Reiten, Erin Cuthbert and Ji So-Yun. Sophie Ingle will play in the defensive mid position with Guro to her left and Erin on the right. They will of course push forward to aid the attack and if last season is anything to go by, Guro will be key in this match as she was the best signing we made last season. She really makes things happen and was a huge key part of the title win. Ji So-Yun will play as an attacking mid and could even push up to make a front three. Ji is a headache for City having put in many a great performance against the Sky Blues over the years and will likely be here again.
Beth England was recently voted the player of the season and it’s easy to see why. She was hugely influential in our runs in the league and Conti Cup wins with 14 and 7 goals respectively. Having had some time adjusting to the league and life in England last season, Sam Kerr will come into this season refreshed and ready to regain that scoring streak she is known for. Both these players will start up top as a partnership which could be quite fruitful.
Despite Emma praising Fran Kirby with how she’s come back after becoming ill with pericarditis last November, I feel like she’ll be introduced off the bench for this match. Emma has usually been quite cautious with Fran when coming back from injuries so I expect the same here. It was a while before we all knew the full extent of why Fran wasn’t playing as she is such a fan favourite and one of the best strikers in the world on her day. Hopefully, from hereon in, this is where she gets some good luck and stays injury free as this season could be quite a special one for her.
How would you lineup on Saturday? Will Chelsea bring the Shield home? Let us know in the comments below!