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  • Writer's pictureBethany Barker

Chelsea Youngsters Light Up The Bridge

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Chelsea created a comfortable lead to top the WSL with their young talent leading the way in a five-star performance in front of a crowd of 12,800 and a viewing attendanceof 1.1 million.

Monday 20th November 2023

 

Saturday saw WSL leaders and reigning champions, Chelsea, take on 5th-place Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in the first game of the week, after their midweek Champions League clash with Real Madrid; the Blues were left with questions surrounding a penalty and an offside decision which led to a controversial draw on the road. But with a quick turnaround to the domestic league, their focus turned to retaining the top spot on the WSL table, the disputable game cast aside for the weekend.


Last season, Liverpool caused an upset on the opening day of the season for the reigning champions in a 2-1 victory at Prenton Park before losing out on the three points later on in a 2-1 defeat at Kingsmeadow, after a called-off game in the winter due to a frozen pitch.



Pre-match Thoughts from Emma Hayes:

"I think Liverpool are the most impressive team in the league. Liverpool prepare to do the hard work, they shove six bodies high against your line, really difficult, really brave, getting numbers into the box. The team is under no illusions."

Lineups:

Chelsea

Liverpool

Musovic

Laws

Perisset

Koivisto

Mjelde

Fisk

Carter

Bonner

Charles

Clark

Lawrence

Hinds

Cuthbert

Hobinger

Ingle

Nagano

Nusken

Holland

James

van de Sanden

Kerr

Roman

Beever-James

Haug

  • First senior start for Aggie Beever-Jones- a Chelsea academy graduate who was out on a season-long loan to Everton last year

  • Hayes made 6 (check) changes from the midweek clash against Real Madrid: noticeably Captain Millie Bright and forward, Fran Kirby were left out of the WSL game. With the home side's busy schedule: Zecira Musovic, Sophie Ingle, Maren Mjelde, Ève Périsset, Lauren James and Aggie Beever-Jones came in to help the side.

  • Matt Beard made two changes from the team that played against Tottenham, with Emma Koivisto and Shanice van de Sanden coming in.

  • Beard was missing: defender Jasmine Matthews- who is out for 6-8 weeks with a hamstring injury-, Niamh Fahey and Yana Daniels who has a minor groin injury, from the visiting side

  • Ingle- 184th WSL appearance (all-time record holder)


Match Recap:

After a purposeful start, Lauren James got Chelsea off to a confident start at 11 minutes after Ingle had a brilliant vision to pick her out- when she was in acres of space- on the left side where James drove into the penalty space to create a sweeping left-footed finish. Liverpool replied instantly as Shanice van de Sanden played down the right side to advance to the area where she pulled the ball back and deflected it off of Carter to create an unfortunate Chelsea own goal. Working off this setback the forward- James- helped gather the team to restore the advantage, James and Beever-Jones combined effectively creating a powerful downward header, to get her fourth consecutive WSL goal.


Half-time: 2-1


After the half-time break, the match restarted with a quiet start but after 10 minutes James produced another brilliant moment as Kerr fed James down the left side to create a left-footed effort to the bottom corner, adding a second goal to her score sheet. At 63 minutes, Rytting Kaneryd came on for academy graduate Beever-Jones and quickly turned to provide James her third goal- completing her first WSL hattrick- after a cut from the by-line to allow James to fire the ball home from close range. With an increase in attacking pressure, Liverpool came close to pulling a goal back but were denied by a goal-line clearance from Perisset. Lawrence and Fishel were the next to come on for Chelsea (replacing Charles and Kerr) and add to the building strong attack on the pitch. With 15 minutes left to play, Kaneryd contributed to the fifth goal, gaining her second assist, as she slid a lovely ball into the path of Nusken who tapped in her fourth goal of the season. The last changes for the home side saw Nusken and Cuthbert make way for Fleming and Kirby who helped continue the attacking pressure on the visitors. The pressure remained till the dying minutes of the game as the reigning champions created a comfortable win to see off Liverpool and gain their 6th win out of 7 games.

Full-time: 5-1


Match statistics:



Liverpool

60

Possession (%)

40

19

Shots

10

10

Shots on target

4

5

Blocks

1

80

Passing accuracy (%)

68

  • POTM: Lauren James (Chelsea Forward- sitting on a hattrick and one assist- who has now become the youngest player in WSL history to record 4 goal involvements in a game)

  • Sophie Ingle became the all-time record holder for the most WSL appearances: "There are ups and downs throughout your career, but to consistently play for the clubs I’ve played for and to get the game time I have over the years is something I’m really honoured to achieve."



Up Next for the Blues:

Champions League: Thursday 23rd November vs Paris FC @ Stamford Bridge

WSL: Sunday 26th November vs Leicester @ Kingsmeadow


Elsewhere in the WSL:

Arsenal went five wins in a row with a comfortable victory over Brighton, securing them 2nd place on the table, with goals from Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum. Brighton's defence was poor at times with the first goal by Blackstenius not being cleared away properly with no player closing her down; the closest chance the Seagulls got was a shot from Elisabeth Terland which forced a save from Zinsberger just before half-time. Arsenal controlled most of the game- even though they struggled to break through at times- and saw Beth Mead start her first game back after her ACL injury last year. This game also saw a record sell-out crowd at Broadfield Stadium, with an attendance of 4,921.


The Manchester Derby was held at Old Trafford and saw Manchester City claim the three points in front of 43,615 fans- a new record for Manchester United's home attendance- after coming from behind after giving away a penalty, in which Katie Zelem was able to add to her Old Trafford tally, for a handball. With the home crowd against them, the City attackers were able to provide strong attacking pressure to gain the majority of chances; as a quick turnaround after the penalty saw Jill Rood bring City level with Lauren Hemp following suit shortly after with a curling effort to bring up the lead. Khadija Shaw brought City up to 1-3 after an error by Le Tissier and Earps, a failed clearance of a backpass. City was then brought down to 10 players after Laia Alexandri was sent off in the 71st minute, but even with a player down the victory felt like a comfortable one for City; resulting in Manchester being Blue.


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