A heavily rotated Chelsea FCW side took care of business on Sunday to put the Blues back on top of the WSL table. It may not have been a vintage Chelsea performance, as the Blues looked a bit flat at times, but the result was never in doubt. With one eye on Wednesday’s massive Champions League second leg match against Wolfsburg, Chelsea will only care that they picked up the three points.
It was the Kerr-by connection that
once twice again found success for Chelsea. The first came in the opening half hour from a free kick well outside the box. Fran Kirby’s ball in was met by Sam Kerr, whose looping header skipped off the inside of the goalpost and in, to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. Chelsea, and in particular Kerr, had several other good chances to extend the lead in the first half, but entered the break up by a single goal.
Despite the narrow lead, Chelsea never appeared under any pressure from Aston Villa. The Villains looked satisfied to soak up the Blues pressure, possibly with a late equalizer in mind. Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr made sure an equalizer would never come. Less than fifteen minutes after halftime, Kirby took advantage of a poor clearance and fed Kerr in the center of the box, twelve yards from goal. Kerr made no mistake with her first time finish, sweeping a left-footed strike over the diving keeper Lisa Weiß.
With the points secured, Chelsea further rotated their lineup to keep fresh legs and sharpness for Wednesday.
- Starting XI: Musovic, Carter (‘59 Charles), Bright, Eriksson, Blundell, Cuthbert (‘60 Spence), Ji So-yun, Fleming, Kirby (Harder ‘59), Reiten (‘72 Beever-Jones), Kerr (Leupolz ‘62)
- As mentioned, heavy rotation for the Blues including Zecira Musovic, Hannah Blundell, and Jess Carter all in the starting lineup. Young academy product Agnes Beever-Jones, just 17 years old, was able to play the last twenty minutes.
- Niamh Charles came on in the second half, but her exclusion from the starting XI is a pretty good indication she will start against Wolfsburg. She’s impressed enough filling in for Mjelde to be trusted again.
- Aston Villa played the match as if 0-0 was their aim. Given Chelsea’s attacking prowess, even with a rotated lineup, I’m not sure how realistic that game plan ever was. Kerr’s first half goal did little to change the way Aston Villa approached the match. By the time Kerr scored her second, Villa looked completely beaten.
- Kerr’s brace gives her 14 WSL goals on the year, while a pair of Kirby assists lifts her total to 9 in league play. Both are VERY impressive numbers.
- Wednesday’s match hero Ann-Katrin Berger was left out of the team entirely as Carly Telford was on the bench to serve as backup to Zecira Musovic. No doubt she was just given the day off to re-charge her super human abilities.
- Next up: Don’t miss Wednesday’s Champions League quarterfinal second leg tie against Wolfsburg. Chelsea won the “home” leg 2-1 in Budapest and return to finish the job in Budapest on March 31st.