Chelsea Ladies got their WSL 1 season up and running in emphatic fashion with a convincing 6-0 victory over newly promoted Bristol City Women.
The team christened their new home at Kingsmeadow stadium in Kingston in the most stunning of ways with two goals in the first half and then doubling that output in the second half. Chelsea lined up in their now customary 3-4-2-1 formation with Emma Hayes surprising everyone by only including Eni Aluko and Ji So-Yun on the bench. Instead, Hayes started with Fran Kirby at the top closely supported by the experienced Karen Carney and Drew Spence. Willie Kirk had his team lined up in a 3-4-3 formation.
The Vixens actually started the match more impressively, with quick movement forcing Chelsea into hastily misplaced passes on a number of occasions in the opening 10 minutes. The game really swung in favour of the blues after 12 minutes though when Karen Carney played a fantastic inch perfect cross into the box where Drew Spence was roaming free for a diving header finish. From then on, Chelsea Ladies exerted a strong hold of the game controlling possession for the rest of the half. Chelsea keeper Hedvig Lindahl did have to be alert midway through the half however when forward Lauren Hemp found herself one on one with the Swedish international who made a fantastic save. Just before half time, Chelsea got the second goal they deserved, Fran Kirby clinically capitalising on a defensive error to slot the ball in the bottom corner.
The second half started in the same way the first half had ended; Chelsea dominance. Chelsea’s third coming on 50 minutes where Maren Mjelde expertly finished after collecting Karen Carney’s cute header. To make matters worse for Bristol City Women, Emma Hayes then sent on South Korea’s best player Ji So-Yun and 102 England capped Eni Aluko to torment the City defence. The inevitable fourth goal went in as Magdalena Eriksson got her head to a corner to get a goal on her debut. Maren Mjelde then got her second of the game in the 86th minute after Gemma Davison unselfishly teed up the Norwegian to tap into an empty net. Chelsea Vice-Captain Gilly Flaherty rounded off proceedings with the final goal of the game, easily putting the ball in after the Bristol City keeper had made a decent save.
It was a wonderful afternoon for The Blues who dominated for three quarters of the match and what will be frightening for the rest of the league is that they can still reach higher gears. Although it means nothing at this early stage, it’s always nice to see the team at the top of the table!
Player of the Match: Karen Carney (Chelsea) – The winger was a threat throughout the match and made a huge impact on the big score line grabbing three assists.