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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Denny Draper, Jutta Rantala
Leicester City v Bristol City - Barclays Women's Super League / Morgan Harlow/GettyImages

Since last campaign's miraculous escape, the Foxes have adopted a mentality defined by the fact that "nothing is insurmountable." With eight league matches remaining, Kirk's crew has already won four games, one less than last season, and the same amount compared to the 2021/22 stretch. The current holders of the WSL's seventh position compete with little to no fear. Sometimes that turns into recklessness. Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves.

While LCFC has committed the most fouls in the league, it also tops the charts in tackles won and aerial duel win percentage. Expect an extreme level of physicality, especially on dynamic players like Johanna Rytting Kaneryd. Good luck to the Foxes' center-backs trying to foul Mayra Ramirez, though, her strength in hold-up play could prove vital in earning the points.

Two summer arrivals, Lena Petermann and Finnish international Jutta Rantala are among the 13 players in the WSL with at least seven goal contributions. Lauren James is the only Chelsea player within this set of individuals due to the Blues having 19 total players that have played a role in at least a goal in the league this campaign.

Rantala is the main threat. The 24-year-old has contributed to five goals in the last seven league fixtures. The Finn scored an absolute cracker last time out at the King Power Stadium, catching Shae Yanez at her near post for the club's fourth of the afternoon. She is relatively versatile, so her position may change throughout the 90 minutes this weekend. We've seen her mostly on the right flank as of late, the area in which she set up Denny Draper against BCFC.

The Blues had outscored the East Midlands outfit 32-0 in the previous five fixtures heading into this season. Rantala and Samantha Tierney both converted chances in the first half back in late November, throwing a little bit of concern into CFCW fans' heads heading back into the dressing room that day. A stunning chip by James and a pinpoint Aggie Beever-Jones header ultimately saw the west London pull away in the second 45 minutes.