Despite a glut of goals, including one (or perhaps two?) own goals in Chelsea’s favor, and a missed penalty by Gemma Davison, the match will likely be most remembered for the nasty injury suffered by Eni Aluko. The Blues striker was in a fine run of form, having shaken off the drama with the England national team, but now faces a spell on the sidelines after a head-on collision with some on-field advertising boards. She received treatment on the pitch for over ten minutes, and was stretchered off to applause from a fearful attendance.
Now Aluko threatens in behind, racing onto a lofted through-ball but the angle is just too tight for here. She went clattering into the advertising hoardings and there are worrying scenes as a stretcher is called for #CLFC— Chelsea Ladies FC (@ChelseaLFC) December 2, 2017
Aluko was taken to hospital to check out her head injury. After the game, the club confirmed the she was feeling much better and had been allowed to go home. Head injuries and concussions are very dangerous and symptoms could manifest later, too, so hopefully everyone involved will treat this injury very carefully.
Good news - Eniola Aluko has been released from hospital and is feeling much better after suffering a head injury in our game against Yeovil tonight. She would like to thank all the medical staff, as well as the supporters for their kind messages #CLFC— Chelsea Ladies FC (@ChelseaLFC) December 2, 2017
Other than Aluko’s injury, it was a perfect day for the Chelsea Ladies, who were dominant throughout. Erin Cuthbert and Drew Spence notched two goals each in another excellent display from the pair of them. Just like in the league encounter, Yeovil were hardly up to the task of defending, and were even less capable in attack. Despite the result never being in doubt, Emma Hayes’ side continued their tradition of never letting off the gas and buried their opponents in shots from start to final whistle. The Blues thus added another three points to their total in the WSL Cup, clinching the top spot in Group 2 South and a place in the quarterfinal round.
Chelsea started as brilliantly as ever, with Aluko nearly putting a left footed effort on target in the opening minutes. Her name would go in the assist column with less than five played, as Crystal Dunn tapped home a cross Aluko had dragged back from the byline. It was the fourth goal Dunn had scored against Yeovil as she continued her scintillating run of form, which has put her in consideration for being the best wing-back in the league at this point.
Dunn was at it again with some great crossing work, and she nearly had two assists by the twenty-minute mark. Unfortunately, good goalkeeping from Yeovil’s Megan Walsh denied Cuthbert twice over. It was Walsh’s own defense who would ultimately beat her to tally Chelsea’s second goal. Ji So-Yun, operating freely throughout the park, fired in a cross that was then mis-hit by a defender attempting to clear. Two goals to the good and not looking like slowing down.
Then it was hearts-in-mouths time as Aluko went flying off the pitch headfirst and into the advertising hoardings. She had been chasing a through ball and nearly got there as well, but excitement turned to concern as she remained down and the medical staff rushed in. England’s latest 100 goal-scorer, Fran Kirby, came on in her place as play resumed almost a quarter-hour later.
In the thirteen minutes of stoppage time that followed the end of the first forty-five, Chelsea added two more. First, Cuthbert seized upon a poor headed clearance with a cannon from the edge of the box. Then Spence, who was staking out a return to form after a mixed performance in her last domestic appearance against Reading, got the second. She flicked the ball in from a corner and was adjudged to have earned the goal despite a touch from a Yeovil defender.
After the break, Ji continued to demonstrate why she has collected individual awards hand over fist in England and in South Korea. She played the role of wizard in this one, casting spells that mesmerized fans and opposition defenders alike. She made the ball appear at the feet of Cuthbert, who had made a run behind Yeovil’s defense. How she found space through all those legs will no doubt trouble magic-deniers for years. Cuthbert finished with the cool perfection that is becoming a bit of a trademark for her.
Yeovil were clearly still reeling two minutes later when the mystical feet of Davison charmed their way into the box. She was brought down and the ref had no choice but to award a penalty. Sadly, after making the ball disappear from the spot, the pacy winger neglected to make it reappear in the net, and the score remained 5-0 around the hour mark.
It was Kirby’s turn to draw and take a penalty kick soon after, when Ji’s magic spell once again turned the defense inside out and Chelsea’s number ten was brought down for another opportunity from twelve yards. Kirby made no mistake from the spot, even with Yeovil substitutions delaying the moment.
With eighteen minutes left in regular time, it seemed likely that the match would end with the same result as the last time these teams met back in October. However, the Blues proved once again that their hunger knows no bounds and they would tack on another two in stoppage time. The first fell to Davison, who made up for her earlier miss with a smart finish at the back post. Finally, Cuthbert looked destined to get her hat trick with a great opportunity in the box, but a fine save from Walsh, who onlookers had to say was unfairly measured by the lopsided scoreline, denied that outcome. Unfortunately for Walsh, her excellent parry wound up in the control of Spence, who turned Cuthbert’s would-be third into a second of her own.
The quarterfinals thus await the Blues, with a game a spare. The game will be played on Wednesday, against Spurs, who who need at least a draw to secure a spot in the next round. The opportunity to deny Spurs that chance should provide plenty of motivation, keeping Chelsea’s confidence high as they head into the weekend and the massive showdown against Manchester City in the league.