Chelsea FC Women anticipated a difficult afternoon in Manchester, though to return to London with only one point is disappointing.
After 25 minutes of fairly even play, Chelsea took the lead, courtesy of a Sam Kerr finish. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to put the match away, despite multiple good opportunities to do so. Leah Galton leveled in the 79th, finishing off an incisive attack down the right side. Erin Cuthbert nearly broke the deadlock late on two separate occasions, but Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps held strong. Pernille Harder made a late debut and provided a spark, but wasn’t able to spur the team to a winner.
The Blues have dug a bit of a hole on the WSL’s opening weekend, after rivals Arsenal WFC and Manchester City WFC both secured three points.
- Once again Sam Kerr starts up top. She was able to put away her first goal of the season, but missed several other opportunities to widen the lead.
- Carly Telford started in net in place of Ann-Katrin Berger who was in concussion protocol following a knock in training.
- Much of Chelsea’s possession in the second half was in our own end. MUWFC were well organized in the middle of the park and didn’t allow easy outlets out of the back.
- Fran Kirby and Maren Mjelde showed spells of danger down the right, particularly when combining to set up the goal for Kerr. After a year off, it is unsurprising to see Kirby lack sharpness for a full 90 minutes.
- Chelsea’s backline soaked up pressure for stretches of the match, and looked well organized in defense, outside the United goal. We did however look nervy at times playing out of the back under pressure from Manchester United.
- Harder appeared dangerous on her debut, showcasing both her physical abilities and knack of reading the game. She will no doubt be looking to start in the future.
- Second half substitutions: Cuthbert came on for Ji So-yun; Bethany England replaced Sam Kerr; a double change saw Harder for Reiten and Jess Carter take over for Jonna Andersson.
- Next up: Chelsea FCW return to action in the Women’s Super League on September 13th against Bristol City WFC.