Chelsea Ladies began the most important week of their season so far by thumping arch-nemesis Manchester City 2-0 at Kingsmeadow on Sunday, both goals coming from Player of the Year nominee Fran Kirby, and booking a place in the Women’s FA Cup final for the fourth time in the last seven years.
It was a great win against the other best team in England, but there is no time to rest. The action picks up again on Wednesday in the Women’s Super League against Birmingham City, with the Blues nursing a slender three-point lead over defending champions City, who do have a game in hand but are five behind in goal differential. And then, things get even more dramatic on Sunday, when Chelsea host a Champions League semi-final for the first time ever, against (continental) arch-nemesis Wolfsburg, who ended Chelsea’s run in the competition each of the last two seasons. (Unfortunately this takes place right after the men’s FA Cup semifinal against Southampton, which will probably affect attendance.)
On Sunday, Fran Kirby got the good vibes going in front of 3000 supporters in just the fifth minute by latching onto a Magdalena Eriksson through ball and slotting past Ellie Roebuck in characteristically ruthless fashion. (Thanks to Chelsea YouTuber Itz ryaann for the video.)
City turned up the pressure in the second half, which saw Chelsea camped out their our own half for much of the time with ten players behind the ball. Things could have become dicey in the 65th minute, when Gilly Flaherty had to come on for Norway defender Maria Thorisdottir, who sprained her ankle. Instead, the only Chelsea player not focused on defending, the inimitable Kirby, latched onto a City mistake in the 74th minute and salted away both her 20th goal and the match.
Here are the some highlights courtesy of YouTuber ‘Itz ryaan’ and his vlog. Highlights start about a minute in.
The FA Women’s Cup final will be at Wembley on Saturday May 5th, at 5:30pm, against Arsenal. For Chelsea, there is last year’s 1-0 loss to the same team, at the same place, at the same stage to avenge and add the a second FA Cup to the trophy cabinet to 2015’s.
There’s no rest in sight, not with that schedule looming, full of critical matches.
But one other important piece of business was also taken care of on Sunday. The PFA’s Player’s Player of the Year nominees were announced, and no less than five (5!) of the six nominees are Chelsea players! Amazing honor for the team, and of course for the five players, Kirby, Ji, Bachmann, Bright, and Mjelde.
Erin Cuthbert meant was nominated for the PFA’s Women’s Young Player of the Year award. Congrats to them all.
All in all, Sunday was an excellent way to kick-off a critical, historic week of Chelsea LFC’s season, which could pave the way to even greater accomplishments.
Who better than Fran Kirby to have the last word then?