Emma Hayes learnt ‘an awful lot about standards’ as Arsenal assistant and has made Chelsea a Women’s Super League force thanks to a good bit of ‘tough love’

    On a normal weekend, Manchester City vs Manchester United would be the standout Women’s Super League fixture.

    That drama will unfold on Sunday lunchtime but WSL fans will be licking their lips on Friday night as reigning champions Chelsea entertain leaders Arsenal, live on talkSPORT.

    Arsenal made a statement with a win over Chelsea in the opening weekend of the season

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    Arsenal made a statement with a win over Chelsea in the opening weekend of the season

    But their former assistant, who’s now in charge of Chelsea, will want revenge

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    But their former assistant, who’s now in charge of Chelsea, will want revenge

    There’s a huge amount riding on the clash as a win for the Blues will see the leadership change hands with Chelsea going top.

    Winning is all this Chelsea side under Emma Hayes knows and the manager admits her two-year spell as assistant coach and academy director with Arsenal was crucial in her development.

    “Working under Vic Akers was amazing, there’s no question,” Hayes said at her pre-match press conference.

    “Vic taught me an awful lot about standards, about working at a big club, what that looked like.

    “Being a no.2 there was such an amazing experience no question – even though it feels like a lifetime ago!”

    Hayes was only at Arsenal for two years but there were plenty of winners’ medals collected

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    Hayes was only at Arsenal for two years but there were plenty of winners’ medals collected

    Hayes left Arsenal in 2008 before spending two years at American club Chicago Stars.

    She made her way back to blighty and landed the Chelsea job in 2012, taking them to the top of the women’s game in England and creating a winning machine much like Arsenal were in the first decade of the 21st century.

    And what are the secrets to her success? A good bit of tough love, according to Chelsea star Erin Cuthbert.

    Cuthbert told talkSPORT’s Bradley Hayden: “I actually get asked this quite a lot and I think it’s difficult to quantify. I think it will only be after my career that I look back at these crucial development periods as a younger player.

    Hayes has won 11 trophies while in charge of Chelsea and you wouldn’t bet against her adding more to her collection this term

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    Hayes has won 11 trophies while in charge of Chelsea and you wouldn’t bet against her adding more to her collection this term

    “I moved down at 18 and I’m 23 now, so I’ve had five years under Emma and let me tell you, I think it’s no secret that it’s not been easy.

    “Me and Emma have a bit of tough love. We love and hate each other sometimes. But that’s the way I like it; I like my manager to be honest with me. I want her to tell me when I’m doing well and I want her to tell me when things aren’t good enough.

    “I think that’s the best part of her because I think honesty is the best policy and with her, she tells me it straight to the point. I think it’s only improved me as a player.”

    Listen to full commentary of Chelsea vs Arsenal, kick-off 7:45pm

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