Having smashed Servette 7-0 in Switzerland less than two weeks ago, we could only expect another thrashing from the Blues at our home turf Kingsmeadow in this Champions League group stage match. But despite the starting lineup with Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr and Beth England lining up in attack, Chelsea’s advantage in the scoreline was much thinner.
Chances started coming up quite early, with Kerr almost opening the score six minutes in and Kirby following it four minutes later. Try as they might, Servette were unable to produce much upfront even though they were largely helped by some midfield sloppiness from the hosts. The preference for little pressing from their attacking line on our defence certainly helped.
But as we progressed in the first half, Chelsea got slower and slower. It is likely that a better team would have used the opportunity to get a goal and shut up shop, so lucky us!
In the last third of the first half, the Blues got out of their slumber. Quicker pace on the ball upfront was enough to put Servette into a whole lot of trouble, so it felt it was only a matter of getting more pace during plays for us to find the opening goal — that would not happen in the first half, at least.
Back to the pitch from half time for the second half, Chelsea started off by showing the impetus from the first 45 minutes of the match. There was not much Servette could do but constant fouling and clearances, giving the hosts some good dead ball chances.
Many were our attempts, but they were not good enough to break through the visitors who were basically playing a six-woman backline from the second half kick-off. All the bodies made a difference with key blocks to Servette, stopping captain Magda Eriksson from attempting what would have been our best change of the game thus far.
And Servette got quite close to getting a goal in. In the midst of all the penalty box confusion, goalkeeper Zecira Musovic held strong to the shot at her goal.
With Servette growing in confidence, a goal was more than needed by Chelsea to slow the visitors down. It finally came through Sam Kerr, with Fran Kirby as the assister.
Manager Emma Hayes chose to sub Jessie Fleming, Melanie Leupolz and Erin Cuthbert in to stabilize the midfield and perhaps add more goals to the hosts. This was followed by the introduction of Guro Reiten and Lauren James, the latter (finally!) making her Chelsea debut. But try as they might, they could help us find a bigger lead in the final minutes of the second half.
Still, a win is a win. Three points, in the bag!
- Maren Mjelde in back in the starting lineup! We start in a 4-4-2, but change it back to the “old reliable” 3-4-3 with Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr and Beth England all starting upfront.
- Tired legs from all the away matches since mid October certainly not helping Chelsea during this first half.
- A much better effort in the second half, although Servette getting close to scoring their first ever CL goal this season was a much scarier sight than I thought it would be!
- LAUREN JAMES MAKES HER DEBUT! AND SHE ALMOST GOT HER FIRST GOAL ON HER FIRST TOUCH OMGGGGG
- Earlier today, Juventus beat Wolfsburg 2-0 to put them second place in the group.
- Next up: Birmingham City in the Women’s Super League this Sunday.