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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Chelsea vs Manchester City: Defence shines as champions beaten at home

The title race in the Women's Super League heats up as holders- Chelsea- are beaten at home for the first time in three years ending their 33-game run for all competitions.

Saturday 17th February 2023


The first game of the WSL weekend saw a blockbuster game with current 1st and 2nd facing each other in a Friday night clash; it was an early goal from Bunny Shaw that enabled Manchester City to end Chelsea's unbeaten home record and move joint top of the table.

How the teams lined up:

Chelsea: Hampton, Lawrence, Carter, Bjorn, Charles, Cuthbert (c), Leupolz, James, Kirby, Reiten, Ramirez

Manchester City: Keating, Casparij, Aleixandri, Greenwood (c), Ouahabi, Park, Hasegawa, Kelly, Coombs, Hemp, Shaw

Match report:

In the opening few minutes, Manchester City had more possession of the ball but hadn't created much with the home side looking dangerous on the break with Mayra Ramirez on the move as soon as they won the ball back off their visitors. But it was City who opened the scoring after a break at pace with Jess Park catching Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea captain for the night) and crossing the pace into Bunny Shaw who flicked the ball past Hampton, in the 14th minute; creating the difference with their first shot of the game. This strike extends the Jamaican international's Golden Boot tally to 14 in 13 appearances.

Hampton was put under pressure soon after when Shaw took another shot after another pass from Park, but the Chelsea keeper was able to beat the striker and keep the scoreline to one. There was a dominant spell from the Sky Blues who tested Hampton through a header from Laia Alexandri before her side broke back to give Guro Reiten a chance which was denied at the near post.

The miss from Reiten summed up the lack of quality in the final third as they showed an uncharacteristic lack of fluency. At the half-hour mark, there was a questionable penalty call when Ramirez was caught in a last-ditch tackle by Alex Greenwood in which it looked from some angles that the defender got zero ball. Bringing the question of whether VAR is needed in the women's game up once again.

The second half saw many changes made with Hayes attempting to inject more energy into her side with Aggie Beever-Jones and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd being introduced and was met with a few more attacking chances for the holders. A big chance was taken by captain, Erin Cuthbert who flashed a curling shot across the face of the goal, only for it to drop just wide of the far post.

City's defence was strong throughout with more needed in the second half and added time as Chelsea used the 9 minutes to create more chances; substitute Jelena Cankovic’s shot threatened a late equaliser but 19-year-old keeper, Keating, produced a stellar performance and caught the bouncing shot to start a double save as she was able to deny substitute Sjoeke Nusken from point-blank range. Sealing her sixth clean sheet of the season and eighth league win in succession.

City manager Gareth Taylor spoke to the BBC:

“It is my first win here. They made it a bit of a fortress. We have broken that record now and we deserved it. We played some good stuff in the first half and in the latter stages it was really good show of defending from the entire team.”

Match statistics:


Manchester City


Possession %






Shots on target





Player of the match: Alex Greenwood

“There’s eight games to go, we need to stay focused and go again. I think we’ve always had what it takes. For us it’s staying humble. We do what we do and we stay focused. We should enjoy this. Then we go again.”

What it means:

After the international break, both sides now head into the last eight matches even at the top both on points (34) and goal difference.

Chelsea: 3rd March vs Leicester (Away)

Manchester City: 2nd March vs Everton (Home)

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