Sam Kerr's Chelsea debut will be the talk of the WSL as the Blues take on Reading at Kingsmeadow on Sunday. Tim Stillman is expecting her to start from the bench and for Emma Hayes' side to win.
"Sam Kerr’s transfer from Chicago Red Stars to Chelsea is probably the most talked up transfer in English women’s football history. At 26 and having conquered America, one of the world’s finest strikers is going to try her hand in Europe in her prime years."
Sam Kerr to make much anticipated Chelsea bow
Sam Kerr's transfer from Chicago Red Stars to Chelsea is probably the most talked up transfer in English women's football history. At 26 and having conquered America, one of the world's finest strikers is going to try her hand in Europe in her prime years - and it's not the monolithic Lyon that she has chosen.
The addition of Kerr gives Chelsea's legion of creative attackers an elite focal point in the class of Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema. However, having not played since November, I expect the Australian to be eased in from the substitutes' bench against Reading - not least because current number 9 Beth England is in such fine form.
Chelsea striker Beth England is on top form
England has scored six goals in her last five games for Chelsea. That said, the Blues did slip up in their last game away at bottom of the league Liverpool, who held them to a 1-1 draw. However, Liverpool actually sport a very stubborn defence, having conceded only 12 goals in their 10 WSL games so far this season.
Reading are not as solid, they have allowed 17 goals this season and they've lost to Arsenal and Manchester City without scoring this season. Though they did hold Chelsea 1-1 at Kingsmeadow in the Conti Cup in December, but that was a dead rubber group game of no consequence. Now four points behind leaders Arsenal [with a game in hand] Chelsea have more important business to attend to on Sunday. Chelsea to lead at half-time and win at full-time is a good bet at 5/6.
History is not on Reading's side
Reading have not beaten their hosts in seven attempts in the WSL and have not managed to stop Chelsea scoring in any of those games either. Kingsmeadow is likely to be packed as fans seek a glimpse of Sam Kerr, top scorer in the NWSL in each of the last three seasons. I expect her to get some minutes in the last third of the game, but for the game to be more or less over as a contest by the time she arrives. Betting on the margin of victory for Chelsea offers far better value than the 2/7 price for an outright win.