Sam Kerr is likely Chelsea Women’s most impactful player since the 2020-21 season. But even when you take her out of the Blues’ picture, we’re still have one of the most talented attacking units in England.
Being more than three weeks away from the pitch, both Chelsea and their opponents today, West Ham, were showing clear signs of rustiness. We were still the more dangerous side going forward, although Lauren James’ tendency to drop back from her centre-forward starting position was making us too compact for our liking.
Chelsea were also not as sharp with their passing, which made for some nervy moments when West Ham pushed up towards our defence. It was out of our lack of control from this poor passing that the visitors at Kingsmeadow got ahead via Viviane Asseyi 20 minutes into the match.
With the Blues looking like there was always a player missing from the box, changes needed to be made for the second half if they were to push for the win. Those would only come by at the 60th minute with a triple sub of Melanie Leupolz, Mia Fishel and new signing Natalie Björn.
Even then our best efforts to breach West Ham’s defence weren’t bearing fruit. Outside of the odd cross and long-distance shot from Lauren, Chelsea were reduced to circle around the area and never giving any amount of work to the goalkeeper.
And Mia was getting tired of this.
West Ham were still threatening Chelsea with some dangerous approaches on the break, although defence were doing relatively well in handling those forays. Our goalkeeping was what left us hanging at times, with Zecira Musovic not having her best day as a Chelsea player.
Failing to get the win during regular time, the Blues went into 30-minute extra time. While it was far from optimal getting as many crosses to the box as we could to find the second goal, it ended up working thanks to captain Erin Cuthbert.
Captain Erin Cuthberttttttt to the rescue pic.twitter.com/mHMM8W5vpm— CfcwComps (@Compscfcw_) January 14, 2024
Chelsea would then show they didn’t need to resort solely on crosses, with great combination between Melanie Leupolz and Aggie Beever-Jones to get us a third goal today.
Not as easy as we would’ve liked it, and a massive fitness test for a team coming out of the winter break. Still a win is a win, and we’ll take all of them!
- Looks like we have Lauren James spearheading the attack in place of Sam Kerr today, and Ève Périsset playing on the left side instead of her usual right-back role.
- Kerr-less Chelsea in the first half feel like a team playing with nine women on the line, all of which refuse to occupy the six-yard box for whatever reason.
- And just like that, getting a true no.9 to do no.9 things on the pitch is the key to start turning things around in Chelsea’s favour.
- Emma subs really made the difference. Hopefully they get to start more matches from now on.
- Next up: Manchester United at home in the Women’s Super League.