Chelsea extended their unbeaten run in the FA Women’s Super League as they fight back from a goal down to beat their title rivals Manchester City at Kingsmeadow.
The home side move above Manchester City in second position, with a game in hand. Meanwhile, Manchester City have registered their second league defeat.
The visitors opened the scoring just before the hour mark, when Caroline Meir’s low shot guided into the far corner.
Chelsea fought hard to change the complexion of the game as goals from Bethany England and Maren Mjelde maintained their unbeaten start to the season.
Story of the Match
Chelsea were dominant for large periods and created numerous opportunities to test City keeper Ellie Roebuck and the woodwork. Both Mjelde and Ji So-Yun came close to opening the scoring as they saw their efforts come off the crossbar and post respectively either side of half-time.
After angling an effort past the post, Ji tested Roebuck’s handling with a strike from 25 yards. The visitors had their first opportunity of the game, through Lauren Hemp’s left-footed effort from inside the box which went slightly wide off the far corner.
With 10 minutes until half-time, the hosts almost took the lead. Ramona Bachmann’s backheel effort finds Guro Reiten as she puts a perfectly timed pass to England, who cuts into the box and up against Gemma Bonner. England’s low effort was denied by Roebuck who produced a fine save to keep City in the game.
The Blues restored further pressure in City’s penalty area as Erin Cuthbert’s low effort was blocked away by a group of City defenders and goalkeeper, and somehow managed to escape.
Roebuck comes into action once again, denying England who smashed an effort by reacting quickly from a throw-in by Cuthbert which the City keeper palmed away. City failed to react instantly from a quick corner that found Mjelde on the edge of the box as her 25-yard effort hit the bar but the game remained goalless.
In the second half Chelsea continued from where they had left off and steadily grew back into the game. The home side were denied by the woodwork, when Ji tried her luck from the edge of the box with a low drive shot. City keeper was beaten again.
On the other end, the visitors finally broke the deadlock on 59 minutes. Weir opened the scoring as she struck it low past Ann-Katrin Berger into the bottom corner through Keira Walsh’s superb cross.
However, Chelsea never gave up and kept battling through for an equaliser which forced Roebuk making more incredible saves, including Bachmann’s curling effort in the 69th minute.
The breakthrough finally came for the Blues in the 78th minute and though Roebuck forced another save denied a Ji strike from outside the box, and England scored the rebound from close range to level the game.
Chelsea got their second three minutes later through Mjelde who turned home from inside the six-yard box. It was all down to Roebuck’s bad positioning who punched the ball away to England who delivered a low shot back into the danger area which Mjelde tapped home to score the winning goal.
In stoppage time, the drama continued as City had a penalty claim for handball but referee Amy Fearn waved it away as Chelsea maintain their unbeaten record.
Takeaways from the match
Chelsea showing resilience
They showed their resilience for claiming the three points today against Manchester City and done it against Arsenal back in October. The fact that they haven’t beaten Manchester City since 2014 and they ended that record will give them full of confidence for the rest of the season. They had to come behind from a goal down which showed the team’s character as well as sticking to the task and the desire to win.
We shouldn’t forget about the fans who played a significant in making Kingsmeadow a fortress and the atmosphere around the stadium is simply incredible. This Chelsea side doesn’t give up, they don’t implode and kept their focus throughout the game was the key difference.
Roebuck contribution to both Chelsea goals
Ellie Roebuck produced some fantastic saves that kept City in the game for most parts. But she would be disappointed in their contributions to both Chelsea goals. Her job is to be dominate in the six-yard box.
On Chelsea’s first goal, she simply parried the ball back into the danger area where players like Bethany England are lurking so that will be a big learning curve for Roebuck.
She was also heavily involved in the second goal – failing to deal with the corner and punches the ball away into the danger area to England who assisted Mjelde to tap in the winner. Remember, only good goalkeeper can win you league titles and mistakes that today can prove costly.
Manchester City’s penalty claim
It was a good shout for a penalty in stoppage time for the Citizens. As soon as the ball struck Erin Cuthbert’s arm. In defence to her, she does very well to disguise with her foot. We don’t know why she does not clear the ball properly with her foot in the first place. The Man City players must be really frustrated that it wasn’t a penalty.
In contrast, if VAR (Video Assistant Referee) was in place, it would definitely be a penalty as we’ve seen the influence the (VAR) technology has on the men’s game. Hopefully, in the nearer future that VAR will be introduced in the women’s game.
Stand Out Player
She was heavily involved in both Chelsea goals – scoring the rebound and assisting Mjelde’s winning goal. Throughout the game, we’ve seen England’s desire to be involved in every attack and how quickly she accelerates. So far this season, Chelsea have been so dangerous on the counter, and England is playing with such enthusiasm and energy. Every time she goes forward and every time the ball is at her feet - she looks likely to score and cause problems. Great asset for Chelsea and is on great form.