Women's Super League preview: Arsenal and Chelsea meet in seismic battle in title race as Bristol City and Liverpool look for vital win in crunch relegation clash

Miedema could not prevent the Gunners losing to Chelsea in October (PA Images)
Miedema could not prevent the Gunners losing to Chelsea in October (PA Images)
8:10am, Thu 16 Jan 2020
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This weekend will almost certainly prove pivotal in deciding where the Women's Super league title ends up this season.

Top of the table Arsenal welcome rivals Chelsea to Meadow Park as they look to open up a seven point lead over their neighbours.

Meanwhile, the Blues could close the gap to just a single point with a game in hand, putting the destiny of the title in their own hands.

Chelsea inflicted a first WSL defeat of the campaign on Arsenal back in October as goals from Beth England and Maria Thorisdottir cancelled out Danielle van de Donk's opener to give Emma Hayes' side a 2-1 victory.

But the defending champions have won eight in a row since then, scoring 27 goals in the process.

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And Chelsea have slipped up against Liverpool, allowing Arsenal to take control of the title race.

Vivianne Miedema has shone with 14 goals and eight assists in 12 games and could prove crucial in all but sewing up the title for Joe Montemurro's outfit this weekend.

For Chelsea, England has been the major threat, netting nine times in the WSL, more than anyone else in the league aside from Miedema.

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It could well be a case of seeing which one of the side's prolific forwards turn up in better form on Sunday.

The only other team left in title contention, Manchester City, could look to capitalise if Arsenal and Chelsea share the points as they visit a Birmingham side who have won just twice so far this season.

After the announcement that Nick Cushing will be leaving the 2016 champions at the beginning of February, it will be interesting to see how the team's title push is affected.

Their drive did not seem to wilter last weekend as City put away Everton 3-1 to remain three points behind Arsenal, a gap they will be hoping they can close on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Bristol City could open up a six point gap between themselves and Liverpool at the bottom of the table.

The Reds currently occupy the only relegation place in the WSL having picked up only three points from 11 games.

Tanya Oxtoby's Bristol side kicked off 2020 with a tremendous victory away at Manchester United, but were then thumped 6-1 by Chelsea last time out.

The two teams have managed just 11 goals in 22 games between them in the league, so it could well be a case of a single goal proving decisive in this one.

Both of last season's promoted teams Manchester United and Tottenham meet at the Leigh Sports Village as Spurs look to build on a dramatic London derby victory over West Ham.

Reading will be looking to establish their fourth place position when they host an out-of-form Everton side hoping to stop their run of three straight defeats.

And eighth plays ninth at the Rush Green Stadium where West Ham host Brighton.

This Sunday's fixtures (January 19):

Birmingham City vs Manchester City (12pm)

Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur (12pm)

Arsenal vs Chelsea (2pm)

Everton vs Reading (2pm)

Bristol City vs Liverpool (3pm)

West Ham vs Brighton (3pm)

A full round-up of all the weekend's results will be brought to you on the NewsChain website as soon as the final match has concluded.

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