Lyon vs Chelsea, a quarter-final tie between the reigning European champions and an undefeated English side so far in the Champions League.
Chelsea sailed through the group stages of the competition as they went unbeaten in the group, winning five and drawing just once. And this is despite fierce competition in the group with Division One Feminine title challengers, Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish side, Real Madrid.
Emma Hayes’ side can have confidence heading into the fixture however, as they are England’s most recent successful side with the Blues looking set for a fourth consecutive WSL title. When it comes to Champions League success, no English side has won the coveted trophy since back in 2007, when Arsenal were victors. The closest since over a decade ago, has been the Blues, where they reached the final, before being thrashed by Barcelona 4-0 in 2021.
What’s remarkable is the turnaround in European form comparing back to last season, as Chelsea failed to make it past the group stages; in stark comparison, Chelsea scored nineteen-goals in the group stages this year, a marker that other teams will have the right to worry about?
Providing Emma Hayes’ side make it through the next stage un-scathed, the London club could be dreaming of a treble this season, as they are top of the WSL currently, losing dropping just five points. They are also the current holders of the FA Cup as they will be in search of a fifth title when they travel to play Aston Villa in mid-April. FA Cup success this season could also wipe away the disappointment of losing to London rivals, Arsenal 3-1 in the League Cup final earlier this month.
However, the prospect of winning the Champions League doesn’t come much harder than reigning champions, Lyon. The French side will no doubt be one of, if not the favourite once again as they have won the competition six times from the last seven seasons.
The eight-time winners, however, haven’t had it plain sailing this time around as it’s been proven that the French side are beatable after being on the wrong side of a heavy defeat to Arsenal, whilst drawing both group stage matches with Juventus. Lyon finished second to Arsenal, with the Gunners enjoying a far superior goal difference of fourteen to Lyon’s four.
In domestic action, Lyon show no signs of slowing down as they top the Division One Feminine once more with the club setting sights of a sixteenth league title, a trophy they are desperate to retain. Lyon however do face competition from the Coupe de France holders, PSG, as they sit just one point below their league rivals.
This match-up makes for an intriguing one for the neutral as the holders’ credentials are set to be tested by a stern and ambitious Chelsea side.