Chelsea WSL preview: Favourites led by Emma Hayes and Sam Kerr with Lauren James their secret weapon

·2-min read
 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Women’s Super League champions Chelsea go into the 2022-23 season celebrating ten years of Emma Hayes at the top, and they once again are the early favourites to win the league again despite renewed investment from their rivals.

There are also new owners at Chelsea this season with the Boehly-Clearlake ownership group often present around the team and keen to exceed the investments made by Roman Abramovich.

With the transfer window now closed, they are hungry to show off their new midfield and defensive signings to take the next step forward.

Here is our preview of the Blues’ new season...

Key players

Chelsea have arguably the most deadly striker in women’s football with Sam Kerr leading the line.

She currently holds the WSL golden boot after scoring 20 goals last season, striking up a devastating partnership with skilful forward Fran Kirby.

Club-record signing Pernille Harder has moved into a deeper midfield role but remains influential.

Head coach

 (Chelsea FC via Getty Images)
(Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Emma Hayes is one of the most-loved and best-known figures in UK women’s sport.

Her straight-talking and insightful football commentaries have only broadened her and sport’s appeal having worked brilliantly for Chelsea for over a decade.

She is a proven winner and wants to win it all again.

Young player to watch

Lauren James, 20, is the great hope for the future in this women’s team with Chelsea breaking the domestic transfer record to sign her last summer.

However, she has been held back by injury problems with Hayes keen to get the sister of Reece James in perfect condition before unleashing her this season.

Inside the club, there are genuine hopes that James is ready to take the WSL by storm.

Lionesses in the squad

Millie Bright celebrates after England win the Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)
Millie Bright celebrates after England win the Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium (Nigel French/PA) (PA Wire)

James has recently been called up to make her debut but wasn’t at the showpiece event in the summer.

The four women’s Euros winners in the squad are Kirby, Millie Bright, Jess Carter and Bethany England.

New signings

Kadeisha Buchanan is the marquee signing and the Canada international defender arrived from Europe’s most dominant side, Lyon, over the summer.

Arriving alongside her are midfielders Jelena Cankovic, Katerina Svitkova and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd. There is also right-back Eve Perisset.

Aim this season

Chelsea’s simple aim is to win. They want to dominate domestically and overcome their traditional challengers of Manchester City and Arsenal - with others increasingly able to compete against them.

They also want to compete on all fronts after winning everything last season except the Champions League.

Stadium

Kingsmeadow, Norton. Capacity: 4,850. One match is contractually obliged to be played at Stamford Bridge.