Chelsea hit woeful Leicester for six

Heading into this fixture off the back of a hefty demolition of Everton, Chelsea looks to steamroll their way to a record-breaking 4th WSL title in a row. While the Women’s FA Cup Final beckons for the Blues on Sunday against Manchester United, they must stay locked in against Leicester to ensure a victory. Earning three points against Willie Kirk’s side would see them close the league gap to the Red Devils to just a solitary point with a game in hand. Interestingly, Sam Kerr was dropped before the game -perhaps saving her for the final.  

For the Foxes, a good result today would take huge pressure off them in the relegation scrap – despite losing out by a goal to Arsenal last match. While a win was not vital for Leicester, it would extend the gap between them and rock-bottom Reading to a sizeable five points.

CHE: Berger; Charles, Eriksson, Carter, Perisset; Leupolz, Cuthbert; Reiten, Cankovic, James; Harder 

LEI: Leitzig; Purfield, Nevin, Mace, Bott; Tierney, Green; Whelan, Goodwin, Siemsen; Cain

Early on, Erin Cuthbert’s efforts on the press were enough to win Chelsea a corner – which Eriksson nearly converted from a Périsset cross, but it was sent over the crossbar after taking a deflection. Chelsea were oozing confidence early on, and this was validated by Reiten’s goal only eight minutes in after a low driven cross from Harder. Chelsea’s high press was paying dividends.

Lauren James then played a magnificent cross-field ball for Reiten to have another pop, but the angle was against her. Early on, Leicester were struggling to get out of their own half and couldn’t string five passes together without losing possession. 

Reiten forced a close-range save from Leitzig in the 14th minute – and despite the German dealing with the danger, it was still another scare for the Foxes. Chelsea’s second goal seemed to be coming, and James almost had it a few minutes later, skipping through a few players before just firing wide.  

However, it was Cuthbert who stole the ball off the defender and ran past the helpless Janina Leitzig to make it 2-0, with not even 20 minutes on the clock. 

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Some brilliant play on the left-hand side saw Barcelona-esque passing between Leupolz, Harder and Cankovic – and the trio were clearly all on the same wavelength as a cross was fired into the box, but James’ header was directed straight at the ‘keeper.

Lauren James was causing all sorts of problems for the Leicester defence, driving the ball at top speed. Despite James’ effort being denied, Pernille Harder found herself unmarked at the back post -being able to tap in for an easy goal on the half hour mark. 

The game went slightly quiet for the next ten minutes, but the ruthless nature of Chelsea would ultimately prevail. A defence-splitting ball over the top found Harder in acres of space, with the striker placing the ball perfectly into the bottom corner for her second of the game.

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The Foxes certainly lacked the wits of the animal on their emblem, and couldn’t wait for the half time whistle – with their defence lying in tatters.

It was more of the same at the start of the second period; Cuthbert’s blistering run eventually reached the feet of James. She was undeterred by her earlier squandered efforts and decided to have another effort, but was left in frustration once again. 

Her mood would soon change though, as she finally sent a rifling attempt into the top corner in the 55th minute – and it looked as if the humiliation would continue for Kirk’s side. 

More nifty feet work from James in the box, she was truly showing her class despite her effort not finding the back of the net.

Leicester had a chance against the run of play, but Remy Siemsen’s shot was tame and didn’t threaten the Chelsea goalkeeper in the slightest. Moments later, CJ Bott created space for herself to take on the opposing backline, but it would lead nothing as she blazed effort over the bar. 

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd had a golden opportunity when she was slipped through on goal – it wasn’t to be six though, as her crack at goal was palmed away by Leitzig.

Deep in stoppage time, Jelena Cankovic finished off the Foxes – bagging Chelsea’s sixth of the night to wrap up a sublime performance at Kingsmeadow.

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A Chelsea victory was expected today, but few would have predicted Emma Hayes’ side to bag six goals – especially given their relentless scoring on the weekend. The Blues proved once again their dominance in the league, and this will only give them a boost heading into the FA Cup Final this weekend.  

Leicester were shambolic today – and it sounds hyperbolic, but they were extremely lucky it wasn’t more as Chelsea let them off for a period in the second half. They will need to bounce back from this horrendous result if they’re to stay up.