Boss Hayes loves playing Arsenal and is priming her players for the unpredictable nature of the game
By Paul Lagan
Emma Hayes faces Arsenal on Sunday in a WSL title cruncher with a near fit squad.
The Blues could leap-frog their north London rivals with an away win.
But missing will be charismatic forward Fran Kirby, who Hayes reckons will be back in training with the squad at the end of next week. Drew Spence and Hannah Blundell are out with longer term injuries.
Hayes believes that Arsenal will be at their toughest following their 1-0 WSL defeat to Manchester United at the weekend.
She thinks they will be like the team they faced in the Continental Tyres Cup final just before the first lockdown.
While Chelsea won that encounter 2-1 with a last-gasp winner from Beth England, The Blues were under the cosh for much of the 90 minutes.
She said: "They came out all guns blazing, aggressive, and difficult to break down. Sunday is a derby and you can't expect it to be an easy game."
While Hayes hopes her players to leave all their energy on the pitch, she also knows that she and her management and coaching staff also have to have done their work this week on the training ground to set the team up for the mouth-watering encounter at Boreham Wood.
She said: "I love this game, I'm a Londoner and I enjoy the battles, and it's always so unpredictable and you don't know what going to happen."
Asked how she is dealing with the unpredictable nature of the game, how many scenarios she can reasonably expect to occur during the game, and what she and her non-playing team are doing to prepare for the match, she said: "I can't go into specifics but what I can say is that you have to prime the brain, prime the players, you have to expose the players to situations you think they may face, and you have to do that with a degree of unpredictability and uncertainly, and a degree of discomfort."
She said: Everything is about preparation. It might be in training, it might be in the classroom, it might be in one-to-one meetings. It will be a sequence of things. You have to prime the players for situations and to be honest, it's no different to what we do every week."
Chelsea are third in the WSL three points behind Manchester United and two behind Arsenal with a game in hand.
While fans are still banned from attending matches during lockdown, the game is on TV.