Ingle insists Blues must tame Lionesses to topple City
Sophie Ingle believes Chelsea must keep England duo Lauren Hemp and Chloe Kelly quiet if they are to down title rivals Manchester City.
The Blues head into the weekend with a two-point advantage at the summit, making them favourites to lift a sixth Women's Super League crown in May.
But they face a stern examination of their title credentials from Gareth Taylor's City, who are unbeaten in 13 league outings since surprisingly losing their opening two games of the campaign.
Wales captain Ingle, who featured in Chelsea's impressive 1-0 Women's Champions League victory over Lyon on Wednesday evening, knows how crucial Sunday's Academy Stadium clash is.
And the midfielder, 31, is convinced Euro 2022 winners Hemp and Kelly are the biggest threats in the opposition ranks.
Speaking exclusively to LiveScore, Ingle said: "City are obviously a great team. I watched them play Aston Villa last Sunday [a 2-1 defeat in the FA Cup] and I thought it was a good, competitive game.
"I think they're very good at what they do. They get it out wide to the likes of Hemp and Kelly who can cause a lot of threat going forward.
"They are both very good one-vs-one players who can get balls into the box for the likes of [Khadija] Bunny Shaw or Laura Coombs, who is coming in from the edge of the box and scoring a lot of goals.
"So we'll be looking to nullify those threats as well as concentrating on our own game."
Tight at the top
Alongside Chelsea and City, Manchester United and Arsenal also remain firmly in the title picture.
Emma Hayes' leaders recorded a crucial 1-0 win over United earlier this month to gain control of their own fate, though they know any slip-ups are likely to be pounced upon.
But Ingle thinks having multiple sides competing for glory can only be a good thing for women’s football.
Chelsea's No5 said: "It's really exciting. To have four teams in the running is great for the league and great for the fans.
"You kind of want that really. You don't just want one team to run away with it — even though it would be nice for us to be a good few points clear.
"The league is too good for that now. Every team can nick points off each other, which just shows how far the game has come and how competitive things are in the WSL.
"Beating Manchester United at home, we needed that result heading into these next few busy weeks."
Guro Reiten's strike saw Chelsea earn a 1-0 first-leg win over European champions Lyon on Wednesday, meaning the Blues are still firmly in the hunt for a historic treble.
The English title-holders have shown they are capable of bouncing back from adversity, having responded to a Continental Cup final defeat to Arsenal with four straight wins in all competitions.
Reflecting on that loss, Ingle said: "As soon as we were back in the next day, we analysed the game and we all knew we were nowhere near our best.
"The better team won. Arsenal were great on the day and beat us all over the park really, so we had to look at that because it wasn't good enough from us individually or collectively.
"But then that makes things a little bit easier in a sense because you go out on the training pitch the next day and know you have to put that right.
"To play the next game a few days later after a loss is always tough but I was glad we bounced back really well."
Ingle puts much of that strong response down to experienced boss Hayes, 46, who she adores playing for.
She added: "Everything's just easy under Emma. She's very straight talking and says it how it is, which I like.
"I'd rather she'd just say 'You weren't good enough today or 'You did this really well'. Some managers are a bit scared to do that or go over the top with things.
"But Emma's very level-headed and her attention to detail is one of the best I've ever worked with, so I really like working under her."