Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lincoln Ladies v Chelsea Ladies preview.

Hello one and all and welcome to the first fans preview of the 2013 FAWSL season. For each fixture this season i intend to preview the game and give my thoughts on what may happen. I also intend to get a guest to help me preview each match. This will either be a fan of the opposition or somebody who is neutral but has a vast knowledge on the Women's game. I already have a handful of guests lined up, but if you are a fan of any FAWSL side or just a fan of the Women's game in general, and would like to appear in my previews, just leave a comment below or just Tweet me at @Ferretimp. If you are a fellow writer then i will of course post a link to your website, Twitter handle etc in the article. Anyway now that the introduction is out of the way lets get down to the preview. I would like to welcome and thank this weeks guest Lisa Paterson-Sleep who is a huge fan Women's football at all levels in this country and a prominent member of "The Gang"; The England Ladies supporters group who follow the national team both home and abroad.

Last season in the FA cup.

As this is an FA Cup game i thought we would have a look back at how the two sides fared last season, and they had very different journeys. Lincoln gave Arsenal very good game at Lincoln but lost out 0-1. Chelsea however fared much better. In round 5 Brighton were beaten 3-0 and this was followed up with a 2-0 away win at Doncaster in the quarter finals. On to the semi's and Chelsea notched up a fantastic 2-0 over Lincoln's conquerors Arsenal at neutral Brentford. Chelsea faced Birmingham in the final at Bristol City's Ashton Gate, and took the lead twice in the 120 minutes. They took the lead on 70 minutes and looked like they would hold out. However they conceded a 91st minute equaliser which sent the game into extra time. Again Chelsea took the lead but again Birmingham pegged them back. So with the game locked at 2-2 the game went to penalties and it was heart break for Chelsea as Birmingham took the shootout 3-2.

Tale of the form.

This being the first game of the season i don't have any form to review or debate so we will take a look back at last seasons games. The two sides squared off three times last season (once in the Conentinal cup and the two League games) and Lincoln managed to do the treble over the Blues. In the final standings Lincoln finished in 5th postion on 18 points with Chelsea a place back on 17 points.

18-3-12   Chelsea 0-1 Lincoln 
23-6-12   Lincoln 2-0 Chelsea
7-10-12   Chelsea 2-3 Lincoln.  

Highlights of the Lady Imps 3-2 win at Chelsea on the final day of  the 2013 season.

One interesting stat from last season's games between the clubs, is the fact that Lincoln faced three Chelsea managers. Matt Beard took charge of the first game. Caretaker gaffer Aiden Boxall was in charge for to 2-0 defeat at Lincoln. Current manager Emma Hayes was in the hot seat for the final game of the season at Chelsea. There has been a slight change in the Chelsea dugout with former Doncaster coach Paul Green steeping up to the assistant managers role replacing Daryl Willard who has joined AZAL PFK in Azerbaijan as technical director. Anyway that's pretty much what i know on Chelsea so without further ado lets hand over to Lisa to get the low down on the Blues.

1) Chelsea look like they have been quite busy in the transfer market over the winter. Who do you feel has been the standout signing for the Blues?

They have made some great signings, adding to an already strong team. I’m really looking forward to watching Sofia Jakobsson & Edda Gardarsdottir, but for me the standout signing is Eni Aluko. She's a tricky player and has proved that she has superb goal-scoring skills and can keep any defender on their toes.

2) The club came so close to winning the FA Cup last season How did that loss affect the team last year, and do you think that experiance has made them even more determined to land a trophy this season?
Just beating Arsenal to get to the final showed how much determination the team had to go out and win silverware. They were really unlucky not to win the final, as it could have so easily gone either way. If nothing else it certainly gave them the belief that anything is possible. There have been so many changes in Chelsea, both in players & management that it feels more like a fresh start this season, who knows how far they'll get this year!

3) Manager Emma Hayes got the job towards the end of 2012 and the side seemed to improve. What changed?
I think any change like this so close to the end of a season seems to bring a new air of positivity. Any team that gets a new manager always goes through a boost for a run of games & with the 5 league games she was in charge of there seemed to be more stability in the starting 11s. Only time will tell how much of a change she'll bring, looking forward to seeing the new look team progress this season.

4) Chelsea have a talented side but who do think in your opinion is the Blues star player and why?
Carly Telford. Definitely. She's a big presence in goal & always keeps the team's heads up in the game. Her recent stint in Australia will have done her the world of good in terms of experience & fitness levels (even though she broke her hand). She's would be a valuable asset to any team. I also have to give a mention to Raff (Claire Rafferty) she’s been unlucky with injuries which have stalled her development but she is a brave, committed player with a natural understanding of the game. I think she has a long career at the top level ahead of her.

5) Any Score prediction for the game?
As a neutral, with friends on both sides, I'll not predict the score! Especially for the first game of the season, not having seen the teams play & not knowing the fitness levels of those players who have been away on international duty. On paper though, Lincoln shouldn't lose. ...cagey enough for you :D

6) And finally can you tell us an unusual or interesting fact about Chelsea?
Hmm....I can give you a personal one about Chelsea’s ground, Staines Town ex-schooldays-boyfriend does the PA! (Although thankfully I’ve not spotted him at the Ladies matches and no, I’ve not spoken to him since we were 16!)

 My Thoughts on the game.

When the draw was made i was happy enough with it. I know its an old cliche but all you want from a cup draw is a home tie.  Chelsea have been much busier than Lincoln in pre season in terms of bringing players in, so they could take a few games to gel, so playing them early may be in Lincoln's favour. The Imps for the most part have kept most of last seasons team together with Lucy Staniforth heading to Bristol, Nic Hobbs departing for Doncaster, and Laura Alleway returning to Australia. The Imps have brought in arguably the signing of the season in the FAWSL by signing England's number one goal keeper Karen Bardsley, which now means Lincoln possess England's first choice keeper and centre back pairing. Skipper Casey Stoney has been struggling with an injury but will hopefully be fit for the game. Result wise i will stick my neck out and go for a 2-1 win for Lincoln. Just one last thing to mention; there are no replays in the Women's FA Cup, so if the scores are tied at the end of 90 minutes we have the standard 30 minutes extra time, then if needs be the dreaded penalty shootout. Wouldn't that be fun?

I would once again like to thank Lisa for her help in this article. You can follow her on Twitter at @lisa_Sleep and dont woget to check out the England Ladies supporters websire here

Entrance prices
(This game is not on the season ticket)

Adult £6
Child £3
Family £15

Highlights of Lincolns 2-0 home win over Chelsea last season.

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