Chelsea Women have shown some cracks this season against some of the “weaker” sides in England, which reflects how the talent gap is closing between us and the rest of the league. That does make some matches which would be considered easy wins for the Blues, such as our FA Cup meeting against Reading today, a much harder task to complete.
Reading knew what the recipe is to give Chelsea a lot of trouble, which is high pressing. As long as they kept lines high up the pitch the Blues were having issues with playing their usual game, although that did leave the hosts more exposed than they would have liked to be.
Once Reading were no longer able to keep that level of pressure onto our backline, and Chelsea began finding breaches to move into their own half, the opening goal seemed to be a matter of time. And so it was as Guro Reiten centred the ball to Jess Carter in the box, who scored our first goal of the day with a simple tap-in.
Now behind in the scoreline, Reading went back to pushing up lines and thus exposing themselves. That had already been an issue when Guro Reiten was charged down in the box for what should have been a penalty. When that happened again the referee did not think twice and gave it in our favour, with Maren Mjelde converting the chance from the spot.
The two-goal lead did not mean the game was won, as Reading scored an offside goal only minutes after Mjelde’s penalty conversion. Chelsea needed to pad the scoreline and so they did in the beginning of the second half after beautiful interplay between Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, Alsu Abdullina and Guro Reiten.
Reading were still tricky today, as shown by their goal at minute 70 to pull one back against us via Sanne Troelsgaard. Still while Chelsea are clearly not as solid as they were in previous years, we cannot be overly negative over advancing yet again to a FA Cup semi-finals.
- Interesting starting lineup without a standard centre-forward upfront. However Sam Kerr is on the bench and available.
- Subs are Ashanti Akpan for Sophie Ingle, Aimee Claypole for Guro Reiten, Melanie Leupolz for Niamh Charles, Reanna Blades for Jessie Fleming, and Cerys Brown for Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.
- By the way, this is a professional debut for Akpan, Blades and Brown. Congrats to them!
- Chelsea still having issues with high pressing, despite having Zecira Musovic at goal.
- Guro Reiten really is a game-changer.
- Hopefully Emma Hayes is just giving a rest to players like Emma Cuthbert since we will be needing her to beat Lyon in the Champions League this week.
- Still shaky but a win is a win!
- Next up: Olympique Lyonnais in the Women’s Champions League quarter-finals.