Leicester City sit dead last in the league table, and were the recipients of a 9-0 beating last time we met them at King Power Stadium. There was thus no result to be expected from today’s match other than a massive win for the Blues, with manager Emma Hayes opting for what is likely the most offensive lineup she can send to the pitch.
But the Foxes did not want to seem weak in front of the league leaders. They began pressing the Blues and even looked dangerous in the first few minutes of the game, with Millie Bright and Madga Eriksson looking to be the sole barriers on the line in front of Ann-Katrin Berger’s goalposts.
That quickly changed when Chelsea shifted into gear. Our first and second goals were almost copycats in Chelsea simply overwhelming Leicester’s defence, interchanging passes and then finding an opening to shoot and score. That is how Guro Reiten and Jessie Fleming found our first goals of the day.
Sam Kerr could have gotten two quick goals to follow if it was not for a bit of carelessness on the Australian striker’s part. Reiten got Kerr on a 1v1 with the goalkeeper with an amazing pass but she lacked the pace and technique to make the most out of it. Then on another golden chance right in front of the goal, she shot it off-target.
Hopes were these missed chances would not come back to haunt us, with Kerr hitting the post in her third big change of the match. But Fran Kirby would make sure that was not the case with a goal of her own, assisted by Reiten. And a minute later, Niamh Charles would enter the scoreboard with a headed goal from a corner taken by... Reiten.
Reiten’s show continued. She would take part in our fifth goal of the first half with a beautiful pass ahead of Leicester’s entire defence to find Kerr. This time our no.20 would not miss it.
One could forgive Chelsea if they decided to step on the brake during second half and just manage the scoreline. But the Foxes were making it too easy for the Blues, and we would not waste the opportunity to pad our goal difference. With that Fleming would find our sixth goal of the game, after Leicester’s defence failure in clearing the ball from danger.
However we could not discard Leicester playing their tricks to rain on our clean sheet parade. Berger had to make a couple of good saves to keep Leicester goalless during the second half.
Once the Blues got back in rhythm, in came our seventh and eighth goals. Beth England did not even need to jump to beat her marker and reach Alsu Abdullina’s cross, connecting it with a good header to beat the Foxes’ shot-stopper. Right after that Kirby made no mistake from a massive mishappen by the opposing keeper, tapping the ball into the back of the net to net a brace.
Nothing else could be done by Leicester. It was only a matter of letting the clock run its course and claim the three points with a beautiful football display, showing not just Leicester but the rest of the league that Chelsea are still the team to beat in the Women’s Super League — and hopefully, beyond.
- A super-offensive lineup from Emma Hayes in her 300th game in charge of Chelsea, with only Eve Périsset, Millie Bright and Magda Eriksson as “true” defenders.
- Subs are Jelena Cankovic for Jessie Fleming, Beth England for Sam Kerr, Aniek Nouwen for Magda Eriksson, Jess Carter for Eve Perisset, and Alsu Abdullina for Guro Reiten.
- Less than 15 minutes in and Guro Reiten already has an amazing game. What a player!
- Erin Cuthbert on the bench is a rare, but still welcome, sight. Gotta give her a rest from time to time.
- Sam Kerr’s misses are a bit concerning, even if she is the kind of player to get so many great chances to score that at the end of a season these plays do not really matter. Which might be the case in the league, but not in cup competitions like the Champions League.
- By the end of the first half, Reiten has a goal and FOUR assists. Just an outworldly display from her today, and the game has not even finished!
- Next up: Real Madrid Femenino away in the Champions League.