STAINES, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: A view of Wheatsheaf Park, home of Chelsea Ladies FC during the SSE Women's FA Cup Semi-final match between Chelsea Ladies FC and Manchester City Women at Wheatsheaf Park on April 17, 2016 in Staines, England. (The FA via Getty Images)

PREVIEW: Chelsea v Sunderland

The Barclays FA Women’s Super League are back again with another classic offering this afternoon, a re-run of the 2015 FA Women’s Super League 1 fixture between Chelsea and Sunderland from Wheatsheaf Park in Staines.

FA Women’s Super League Full-Time provide a preview ahead of this afternoon’s re-run, a game which could have ended with Chelsea being crowned FA Women’s Super League 1 champions for the first time.

Emma Hayes’ side went into the match two points clear of nearest challengers Manchester City while they also had a goal difference which was three better than The Citizens.

Chelsea were facing a Sunderland side who were already assured of a fourth place finish on the back of four consecutive victories in FA Women’s Super League 1. Their last defeat came over two months prior to their final game of the season when title rivals Manchester City won 2-1 at Wheatsheaf Park.

If The Blues were to lift the FA Women’s Super League 1 title, they would have to keep the exceptional Beth Mead quiet. The forward netted a 13-minute hat-trick as Chelsea were beaten 4-0 at Sunderland earlier in the season. Mead went into the final day of the 2015 campaign top of the FA Women’s Super League 1 goalscoring charts with 12 goals, five clear of her nearest challenger Rachel Williams of Notts County.

Sunderland went into their meeting with Chelsea in poor form. The Wearside club were winless in seven matches in all competitions since they defeated Everton 5-2 in an FA Women’s Continental Tyres Cup tie at the end of July. Prior to their winless spell, the club had won six games on the bounce in all competitions.

Over half of Chelsea’s league goals in 2015 had been shared amongst Eni Aluko, Gemma Davison and Ji So-Yun. Four members of their starting XI against Sunderland would remain with the club right up until present day, those being Hannah Blundell, Drew Spence, Ji and Fran Kirby. Defender Millie Bright was named amongst the substitutes.

Sunderland forward Mead would later go on to begin a successful career with Arsenal and England. She lined-up against Chelsea alongside Victoria Williams, now of Brighton & Hove Albion, and current Liverpool midfielder Rachel Furness.

This afternoon’s re-run will be screened on the FA Player at 3pm.

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