Chelsea Women at Leicester: WSL preview, predicted XI

The international break has come and gone. At least for the non-CONCACAF folk. Chelsea Women return to the pitch with a mission of getting back on track following a Manchester City defeat.
Chelsea FC  v Everton FC - Barclays Women's Super League
Chelsea FC v Everton FC - Barclays Women's Super League / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages
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We're back. Like we never left. The gals are at Cobham and it's time for March, a month in which all four competitions play a part in the schedule.

With an eventful international window for Blues around the globe that included countries vying for berths in the Paris Olympics behind us, the attention now turns back to the club stage. Chelsea Women begin the third month of 2024 with the task of returning to regularly scheduled programming in the Women's Super League title race. Hayes even acknowledged on Friday that this year is far different from the campaign prior.

"Whatever it took for us to win [the WSL] last year, it certainly has to be more than that this year. That's clear to me."

Just three points separate Arsenal in third, and Manchester City and Chelsea at the top on 34 points.

The west Londoners will head away from the country's capital for the first time since late January this weekend. In preparation for the Conti Cup semifinal in Manchester, a confident Leicester City team awaits at the King Power Stadium. Willie Kirk's crew has combined for 11 goals in the last two fixtures across all competitions, knifing through Bristol City's defense for five just before the hiatus.

Don't read into the match history between these two all that much. As the LCFC's sideline leader said, "I'm not one for looking backward, it's all about looking forward." The Foxes have turned the page this season with their eyes on a top-half finish following successive years of fighting for their lives in the basement of the English top-flight. The expectations for this club around the women's football landscape have transformed since Kirk took the coaching reins from Lydia Bedford and assistant Nicola Williams.

"It's quite easy to maintain that upward trajectory because we are very ambitious and there is a whole lot more that we want to achieve," Kirk said during BBC's visit to the club's training ground.