It’s uncommon to see a six-goal Chelsea demolition job with out the title Sam Kerr on the scoresheet. However whereas the group’s star striker was given a welcome break, Pernille More durable led Chelsea’s line with aplomb.
Danish ahead More durable contributed two targets and an help within the first half, in an brisk 6-0 show towards Leicester Metropolis, that provided additional proof of Emma Hayes’s enviable depth in her squad. It was the story of Chelsea’s final three seasons, once they lifted the Ladies’s Tremendous League trophy every time. And it’s what places them in command of this title race, with simply three video games left to play.
Hayes was virtually purring with glee post-match, as her group piled the strain on league leaders Manchester United as soon as extra, one level behind with a recreation in hand.
“We have at all times been chasing this complete 12 months. It is good to lastly shut the hole and now it is about placing Man United beneath strain as a result of we’re not within the driving seat. We’re nonetheless in second place.
“I like this place,” she added with a smile. “I like placing strain on others. I don’t thoughts being there [leading], however that is enjoyable.”
Chelsea are peaking at simply the fitting time, and Hayes is aware of it.
Like the opposite prime golf equipment, they haven’t been proof against damage blows. Captain Millie Brilliant has been sidelined for over a month with a knee damage and fellow centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan has solely simply returned. To not point out Fran Kirby, who stays absent and More durable herself was unable to play for a lot of the season, this being solely her fourth WSL begin.
Throughout that point Chelsea squeezed via just a few robust video games, “successful with out being scintillating” as Hayes put it. And the fact is Kerr has been the foremost cog within the machine, her game-changing targets saving Hayes’s facet once they lacked a few of their standard ruthlessness. It was the case only a week in the past, when her 86th-minute effort helped Chelsea retrieve three essential factors at Liverpool.
This Leicester match was solely the third time this league marketing campaign that Kerr has not began, and the primary time she has not performed. She got here off early towards Everton on the weekend, showing to land awkwardly after scoring a header, nevertheless it was a promising signal that she was on the bench on Wednesday night time. The reality is, as Hayes defined, she was not wanted.
“I did not want her. We’ve wanted that for a very long time,” she stated. “Sam has needed to carry the entrance line for this group the entire season. So to have Pernille come again actually provides us the luxurious of recovering Sam.”
Chelsea have a squad bursting with class and gamers who can flip video games on their head if wanted. On Wednesday although, any sense of jeopardy was absorbed earlier than half time as they led 4-0.
Requested the best way to compete with a ahead line that features More durable, and a bench that has Kerr, relegation-battling Leicester supervisor Willie Kirk merely stated: “You do not.”
Add Lauren James to that too, who did all of the work for one in all More durable’s tap-ins earlier than scoring a curling shot to get her title on the scoresheet within the second half. Exhausting grafters like Erin Cuthbert and the relentless Guro Reiten additionally made the scoresheet, together with Jelena Cankovic who caught the boot in throughout stoppage time.
The truth is Chelsea’s rivals for the WSL title can not boast the identical high quality throughout the board. Arsenal have suffered damage devastation and it derailed their marketing campaign whereas United might solely dream of the rotation Hayes has at her disposal.
There are rumours More durable and her associate Magda Eriksson could also be leaving to Bayern Munich, however that shall be a fear for the summer time.
For now, Kerr could possibly be saved for this routine victory, and this run-in to Sunday’s sold-out FA Cup remaining at Wembley has arguably been excellent for Chelsea. 13 targets in two video games and contemporary legs for Kerr could have been one of the best antidote to spice up them within the remaining levels of this season. It’s a built-in luxurious solely Chelsea have.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Berger 7; Perisset 8, Carter 8, Eriksson 7 (Buchanan 75), Charles 7; Cankovic 7, Leupolz 7, Cuthbert 8 (Ingle 65); James 8 (Rytting Kaneryd 65), More durable 9 (Fleming 65), Reiten 8 (Abdullina 65)
Subs not used: Musovic, Svitkova, Mjelde, Kerr
Leicester Metropolis (4-2-3-1): Leitzig 4, Bott 4, Mace 7, Nevin 6, Purfield 6; Inexperienced 5 (Robinson 64), Tierney 5; Siemsen 5 (O’Brien 75), Goodwin 5; Cain 5 (Pike 75)
Subs not used: Lambourne, Levell, Jones, Smith, Reavill
Referee: Rebecca Welch