Reigning champions Chelsea secured their first win of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season as they brushed aside Bristol City 9-0.
Chelsea finished the game with nine different goal scorers, while they record 21 shots on target is now the second most ever in a WSL match.
Emma Hayes’s side took full control of the entire game and proved to be a perfect afternoon for the Blues as they bounced back from their 1-1 draw with Manchester United on the opening weekend.
- Story of the match
The home side broke the deadlock after 14 minutes through Fran Kirby’s low effort which slipped through the fingers of Sophie Baggaley.
Chelsea doubled their lead from the penalty spot through Maren Mjelde after Ji So-yun was brought down in the penalty area by Yana Daniels.
Moments later, Erin Cuthbert’s delivered a deep corner found Melanie Leupolz’s who headed straight past Baggaley, into the bottom left corner to claim Chelsea’s third.
Cuthbert turned from provider to goalscorer on the 36th minute by striking from close range to make 4-0.
The Blues managed to score their fifth before half-time as Cuthbert turned provider once again, lashing a cross inside the penalty area and found Mille Bright who headed home past Baggaley.
Chelsea began the second half in similar fashion to the first and claimed a six-goal cushion before the hour mark when Bethany England scored from the rebound as the visitors failed to clear their lines.
Blues’ substitute and new signing Pernille Harder made an instant impact, penetrated past the visitors’ penalty area and effort was saved by Baggaley, which Niamh Charles converted the rebound.
The hosts produced one of their finest displays down the left flank for their eighth goal when Sam Kerr delivered a low cross for Harder to tap home for her first Chelsea goal.
Bristol had their only attempt on goal in the 81st minute when Ebony Salmon’s curling shot went high over the bar from the edge of the box.
With five minutes till stoppage time, Kerr got on the scoresheet after firing a low effort past Baggaley and fired home their ninth goal.
- Takeaways from the match
There were nine different goalscorers which proved that this side can goals from midfield, without being heavily reliant on England. The Blues have strengthened their squad over the summer by signing the likes of Niamh Charles, Pernille Harder and Melanie Leupolz – all got on the scoresheet and demonstrating that they can adapt really well into this team.
The plan is to retain the title but Emma Hayes’s side know that it is going to be much harder this time round. There are going to be competing with a lot of trophies this season and retaining the title is the key priority for Hayes’s side.
Another factor to consider is whether goal difference will be key in deciding this season’s title race. This was followed when title rivals Arsenal thrashed West Ham 9-1 on Saturday as well as beating Reading 6-1 on the opening weekend. They might want to raise the bar in scoring goals and keeping clean sheets moving forward.
- Player of the match
Fran Kirby – It was a stellar performance from Kirby who scored her first WSL goal in 16 months after making a return from pericarditis. The return of Kirby to full fitness could be the most important Chelsea pre-season development.
She is unbelievable both on and off the pitch as Kirby’s presence is felt within the team and brings another dimension into this Chelsea side moving forward.