MAN UNITED WOMEN 1, CHELSEA WOMEN 6
Classy Chelsea showed precisely why they are the reigning Barclays FA Women’s Super League champions following their emphatic victory at Manchester United, a team with aspirations to take their crown.
The Reds were hit for six and handed a footballing lesson by Emma Hayes’ side whose front two of Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr were too hot for them to handle.
Following their opening day defeat to Arsenal, Chelsea have put that blip behind them and slipped into gear with back-to-back emphatic victories against Everon and the Reds.
And their impressive first half showing against the Reds, when they built a commanding 3-0 lead set up a third straight league win.
Kirby’s 50th WSL goal was followed by strikes from Pernille Harder and Kerr who was also on target in the second period when substitutes Drew Spence and first goal for the club from Jessie Fleming also found the net for the visitors.Embed from Getty Images
Hayes said: “I didn’t think we were very good to be honest with you. I thought we were poor in the first half by our standards, and we were 3-0 up.
“We can get better. I was not pleased with the way we passed the ball, but we have front players who take their chances.
“We have players who are so opportunist and clinical. This is a world class team and we’re a better team than we’ve ever been.”
Hayes was delighted with the impact players made from the bench.
United manager Marc Skinner admitted Chelsea were superior.
He said: “Chelsea were far better than us in the final third but that is down to their recruitment over a number of years.
“We showed a bit of naivety, but we were not overly outplayed against a team that was runners up in the Champions League last season.
“The result was the worst part, but the things we learn from it will be huge. It will be a huge leaning experience.”
United, who had won their first two league matches against Leicester and Reading, made one change from their 3-1 win over Leicester, with Maria Thorisdottir starting in place of Millie Turner, who suffered a nasty injury that day.
Hayes made two changes from the win over Everton, with Melanie Leupolz and Niamh Charles starting in place of the injured Erin Cuthbert and Ji So-yun, who dropped to the bench.
United, who have never beaten Chelsea in four WSL meetings, were punished for a sloppy start.
They had an escape inside 30 seconds when Aussie international Kerr forced a fine save from Mary Earps.
United did not heed that warning as they took the lead in the second minute when Kerr robbed Hanah Blundell and squared a pass for Kirby to have the easiest of finishes for her 50th WSL goal.
She is third on the all-time list behind Vivianne Midema (63) and Ellen White (54).
Chelsea doubled their lead mid-half when Danish superstar Harder broke from midfield and breezed past Jackie Groenen and Thorisdottir before dinking the ball over Earps.
Magdalena Eriksson, Harder and Kerr all had chances before Chelsea added a third goal in the 41st minute.
Again it was the Kirby-Kerr combination that carved open the United defence as Kirkby squared a pass for Kerr to sweep home.
United’s only clear-cut chance in the opening period saw Kirsty Hanson drag a shot wide.
Skinner brought on England international Alessia Russo at the break and the young forward made an immediate impact as United got off the mark in the 48th minute.
Russo’s shot deflected off Millie Bright and went in off the upright. The stadium announced credited the goal to Russo, but it was an own goal.
That sparked Chelsea to life and they quickly restored their three-goal advantage when Kirby provided the assist with a right-wing cross for Kerr to execute from close range at the near post.
United had more purpose and belief than in the opening half with Russo, 22, carrying more of an attacking threat and came close to a goal when her drive from outside the box crashed against the crossbar.
Chelsea added a fifth goal in the 87th minute when substitutes Beth England and Spence combined with England’s lay off met by Spence who found the net with a low shot.
Ella Toone forced a great save from Ann-Katrin Berger before Chelsea added a sixth goal in stoppage time.
Spence was denied by a super stop from Earps, but Fleming was on hand to force home the rebound.