LONDON — Defending Women’s Super League champions Chelsea finally got their points on the board on Sunday with a 2-0 win over Manchester City at home.

After a shock loss in the first leg of the season against Liverpool, the Blues looked much sharper and more determined in the second week of the season. Taking the lead at the end of the first half thanks to Fran Kirby, the hosts doubled their lead with 10 minutes to go thanks to Maren Mjelde’s powerful penalty from a handball into the box.

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– Report: Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City | WSL table | Upcoming matches

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The result gave Chelsea their first points of the 2022 season and, even more delightfully, it happened in front of over 4,000 fans at their home ground in Kingsmeadow. Here are the key takeaways from the early season lead clash and what it means for the title contender pair.

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JUMP ON: Player Ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and Notable Moments | Post match quotes | Key statistics | Upcoming matches

Fast reaction

1. Chelsea’s persistence pays off in the end

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “It’s crazy to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.” Watching Chelsea attack down the left flank through a changing mix of Guro Reiten, Jesse Fleming and Sam Kerr, only to have the ball cut back into the box and passed to Kirby again, evoked images of Einstein’s words that lost their hearing. ears. But there is another saying that is much more relevant in football: if you don’t succeed at first… and in the end Chelsea succeeded on their way to a comfortable victory.

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Just 14 seconds into the match, Chelsea tried a “rush up to the left and a pass into the box” and it nearly resulted in a goal. Ten minutes later, Kerr was chasing Steph Houghton on the left and unnecessarily passing the ball to Kirby, who missed another great chance. Then, shortly before half-time, the same combination of attacking from Manchester City’s right flank and passing the ball to the blues in the box resulted in the first goal when Kirby netted the ball.

Although the Blues did use Lauren James on the right flank of their attack, the majority of their targeted attacks were still directed to the left flank, repeatedly trying to get the better of Man City’s Dutch debutant Kerstin Kasparij. Eventually, City’s luck ran out.

2. The reigning champions are still trying to kill games

After Chelsea’s away defeat to Liverpool, Emma Hayes spoke of her team needing to ‘be killers’ and finish games when they have a chance, but the Blues are still guilty of missing out on too much chances at home. Despite Anne-Catherine Berger’s team being the top team on offense for most of the game, Anne-Catherine Berger’s goal remained under constant threat when Manchester City could take the lead, and indeed the Chelsea stopper was busy on throughout the time that City struggled to find their own killer instinct. .

While another seven-goal thriller (as City were part of last week) might have been unlikely and both goalkeepers would walk away with another save for their main reels, it’s clear that both attacks still have much more to offer than they are showing. protocol. Luckily for them, it’s still early enough in the season to make adjustments and resume normal service.

3. Taylor in the hot seat after another loss to an opponent

After drawing criticism from fans and pundits last season after a string of poor performances that saw Manchester City closer to the bottom of the table than anyone could have predicted, Gareth Taylor’s ability as their manager is once again being talked about.

Although the Sky Blues struggled with injuries last season that affected their results, high turnover is to blame this time around. In particular, the loss of Kira Walsh is keenly felt; for so long she was the conductor, conducting the party from the middle of the park, as well as breaking up the opponents’ attacks.

Two league games into the season, Man City are still struggling for fluency with a new side. It is fair to say that it takes time to form new partnerships and the players settle in, but there is a distinct sense that the manager is not getting the best out of his players. With the team already knocked out of the Champions League after a poor performance against Real Madrid, the inevitable question is how long he can continue his performances and results, no matter how harsh they may be.

Player Ratings

Chelsea (3-4-3): Ann-Catherine Berger 7; Magdalena Ericsson 7, Kadeisha Buchanan 7, Millie Bright 7; Fran Kirby 8, Maren Mjelde 6, Erin Cuthbert 7, Jesse Fleming 8; Lauren James 7, Guro Raiten 8, Sam Kerr 8.
Subscriptions: Sophie Ingle 6, Eva Perisset 6, Niamh Charles 6, Joanna Ritting 6.

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ellie Roebuck 6; Kerstin Kasparij 7, Steph Houghton 5, Alex Greenwood 6, Layla Wahabi 5; Laura Coombs 6, Laia Alexandri 6, Deina Castellanos 7; Chloe Kelly 6, Khadija Shaw 6, Lauren Hemp 7.
Subscriptions: Haley Raso 6, Vicky Losada 6, Julie Blackstad 6.

Best and Worst Performers

BEST: Guru Reiten, FW, Chelsea

A constant threat to Chelsea on their beloved left flank.

WORST: Steph Houghton, defender, Manchester City

In recent years, she seems much more prone to mistakes, and although this may have something to do with the flow of changes in the team around her, she blames only herself for Sunday’s defeat.

Highlights and Notable Moments

Talk about beautiful, smooth movements. Chelsea’s opening goal was all about building up play from defender to front and here it saw Kirby score very easily.

After the game, a few words for the sold-out Chelsea supporters of none other than Norway’s Mjelde…

After the match: what coaches, players said

“We overplayed and continued to create problems for ourselves. We played from the back in every situation and gave City the best chance. We were a little indecisive. We have some momentum and sometimes it takes time. We dominated in the second half, we felt comfortable after the unsuccessful first half. There are still transitions going on with us, but perhaps the collective lead in my group is way ahead of City’s. – Chelsea manager Emma Hayes

“It’s an assumption that we are a new team with a lot of new players, but I think we have good leadership and it comes in many forms… [Sunday’s performance] gives us something to build on. It’s not great, but it is what it is. We had a good first half, we had good chances, good opportunities. I’ll take the positive from today.” – Manchester City manager Gareth Taylor.

Key stats (via Opta)

– Man City hit 12 shots in the first half, the most shots Chelsea have faced in the first 45 minutes of a WSL game since September 2013 against Notts County (14). However, Fran Kirby scored Chelsea’s only goal in the first half to give them a 1–0 lead.

– Chelsea have won each of the last three WSL meetings with Manchester City, becoming the first team to win three consecutive meetings with Manchester City in the tournament.


Chelsea: Emma Hayes’ team has one more game to play before the international break and it’s a home date against West Ham on Wednesday where they will try to maintain their positive momentum and move up the table a bit.

Manchester city: Gareth Taylor’s team is inactive until the end of the international break, after which they face three WSL games in 14 days: a home game against Leicester City (October 16), a difficult trip to Tottenham (October 22), and then a visit. Liverpool (30 October).