Old pals act must end for 90 minutes!
MANCHESTER City full-back Lucy Bronze is aiming to beat some of her best pals into Super League submission when City meet title rivals Chelsea today (2pm).
Bronze will be back in club action after returning from international duty with England, who beat Estonia and Belgium in Euro 2017 qualifiers.
Six of the 24-year-old defender’s City colleagues were also in Mark Sampson’s national squad – as were six Chelsea players!
So, with City needing just a draw at their Academy Stadium against the reigning WSL champions to claim the title for the first time, friends are set to become foes.
“When we’re in England camp with the Chelsea girls, we’re all best mates,” said Bronze, “but it’s going to be totally different in this massive WSL game.
“We’re desperate to win the league and, after finishing runners-up to Chelsea by just a couple of points last season, we’re determined to do it this time. “And we don’t want to have to settle for a draw to do it. We want to take the title with a good victory in front of our home supporters.” City have had two previous meetings with Chelsea this season, both away, losing the FA Cup semi-final 2-1 after extra-time but then winning their WSL game 2-0. “The FA Cup tie was very disappointing,” said Bronze. “I don’t think we got what we deserved from our performance and that cost us a Wembley final. “But then, in the league game, we definitely got what we deserved. It was an excellent performance that got us three big points.” City have gone on collecting points and are the only team in the entire WSL to remain unbeaten, while Chelsea have suffered two league defeats. The consistency that City have shown from the start of the season is the reason they are in the title driving seat, unlike their efforts last term A slow start to the campaign meant they collected just five points from their
first five games, after which they were always playing catch-up.
“We were hit by injuries early on last year,” said Bronze, “and unfortunately we didn’t have the strength in depth that we’ve got this season.
“We’ve now got good cover in every position and we’ve never dropped our performance levels in what I think has been a great season for us.”
City will cap the season off nicely if they can clinch the WSL title today and then win the Continental Cup final against Birmingham City next week.
But Bronze, a WSL winner with her previous club Liverpool in both 2013 and 2014, is thinking only of today’s vital clash with Chelsea.
The former Sunderland and Everton player said: “If we gave the Conti Cup final even a thought at the moment, we could take our eye off the ball.
“But that’s not going to happen. Every player at the club is focused on winning a first league title for Manchester City.
“I know just how amazing it feels to win the league and I want that feeling again – not just for me but for my team mates, the staff, the club and our fans.”