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Injuries pile high for Chelsea Women ahead of clash with Arsenal in the WSL

Emma Hayes giving her pre match press conference ahead of her sides clash with Arsenal

Chelsea Women’s manager Emma Hayes confirmed that her side will be without several key players for their crunch Women’s Super League (WSL) tie with Arsenal on Friday.

Chelsea, who are in the middle of a month that will see them play eight times, will be without January signings Natalie Bjorn and Mayra Ramirez for the visit of the gunners, who won comfortably when the sides met in December.

Hayes also said that Fran Kirby is a doubt whilst Lioness teammate Lauren James has been sick this week.

The loss of three of Chelsea’s most potent attacking options comes in addition to the long term injuries of Sam Kerr and Mia Fishel to ACL tears, whilst captain Millie Bright is still not back in contention to play.

Hayes, who will depart this summer after 12 years at the club said: “This injury list is as bad as I’ve seen it in my time at Chelsea.

“The games accumulation has absolutely taken its toll, these players have to play all year round internationally.”

Hayes also explained her fears over the amount of games that top level players are having to play, with a tournament-less summer being filled with international qualifiers.

It was reported this week that the English FA are set to call players up a few days prior to their game against France on 31st May before then recalling those players selected for games against the Republic of Ireland and Sweden between 12-16th July, on 19th June.

Hayes said: “I am absolutely worried about the danger of burnout, the players thought that having not qualified for the Olympics, there might be an offseason.

“But with qualifiers between May and July, when are they supposed to take their rest?

“Nobody is thinking about the players, nobody is thinking about them.”

Hayes also went on to draw a correlation between the significant amount of injuries suffered by her side this season, and those suffered by Arsenal last season, with the lack of rest for international players.

Hayes was also asked about her views on relationships between managers and players in the wake of Leicester City manager Willie Kirk's suspension following allegations that he was in a relationship with a player.

Hayes, who is often seen as an authority figure on issues affecting the women’s game more broadly said: “I think the game is shifting from an amateur game into a professional game.

“With that I think that in all areas of our game we need to set minimum standards, from safeguarding to welfare, not just player/coach relationships.”

Hayes also added that she believes that romantic relationships between players are inappropriate in an ever-increasing professional game but that understanding must be given to the history of the women’s game which has for much of its history, has largely been a social one.

Chelsea and England star Jess Carter is in a relationship with goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger and whilst not naming the two directly, Hayes was open on the potential problems that can arise in such situations.

Hayes said: “They pose challenges, one player might be in the team the other isn’t, one might be in the last year of their contract and the other one isn’t, you don’t need me to spell it out.

“We know those things have been happening in dressing rooms historically but longer term, it would be ideal if we don’t have to deal with it.

“It is the same as with any workplace and we do discuss it internally and hopefully in the longer term we won’t have to.”

The game against Arsenal looks set to break the record for the highest crowd in attendance at Stamford Bridge for the women’s side, with 30,000 tickets already sold for the fixture.

Arsenal, who have set the standard for attendances in the UK’s women’s game in recent seasons, will be looking to stay in touching distance of Chelsea and Man City at the top of the WSL with a win.

Meanwhile, Chelsea will go three points clear at the summit if victorious, ahead of Manchester City’s fixture against Brighton on Sunday.


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