Chelsea remain top of the table after a thrilling 5-2 win against Leicester City, with goals from Sam Kerr, a brace from Lauren James, an own goal from Courtney Nevin and Aggie Beever-Jones scoring again.
Leicester showed resilience and courage responding twice, but the quality of Chelsea’s team came through and made sure of victory.
International break will begin, and even though Emma Hayes mentioned in her press conference that it will mean a loss of momentum, they’ll need to find that again as the Blues face Arsenal in their return game back. But what did we learn from this seven-goal thriller?
Lauren James is levelling up
One thing Hayes wanted James to add to her repertoire this season was the goalscoring, and she’s done that with aplomb. A hat-trick last game and two goals again in the latest Chelsea win, which should have really been three.
There was a moment where she shoved a defender out the way with just sheer pace and power, and she did that throughout the game. A sudden burst of acceleration that left defenders behind. She’s Chelsea’s secret weapon that’s not so much a secret anymore.
The second goal illustrated the composure James has developed in front of goal. In the few seconds when she was one-on-one, Kingsmeadow fell quiet with anticipation, but she lifted it over Janina Leitzig with ease. Quality.
James looks a level above. She’s arguably in that territory of ‘world-class’ and Chelsea fans will hope she can stay consistent because if she can, they’ll be looking at a certain European trophy come the end of the season. She’s that good.Embed from Getty Images
Leicester will continue to threaten
Leicester got back into the game twice but their high line will always concede chances. Coming to Kingsmeadow, you’d expect Chelsea to be on the front foot, and they controlled most of the game. However, Leicester did keep pushing through their resilience and character.
The Foxes have been statistically the most progressive side this season, and their constant wave of pressure works at times. But to become solid defensively should be their aim in the long term.
They can certainly play with style, Chelsea saw that and so did Arsenal just a couple of weeks ago. The best teams in world can find that balance, becoming versatile in their way of playing.Embed from Getty Images
Willie Kirk shouldn’t be too disheartened with thi performance, and he mentioned in his press conference that he’ll look at positives such as scoring for the first time against Chelsea, and constantly posing a threat going forward. Building blocks.
Niamh Charles — underrated is an understatement
“She’ll shoot, she’ll score, she’ll win the Ballon d’Or” were the chants from the stands about Niamh Charles.
When you have James, Sam Kerr and a returning Fran Kirby to worry about, Charles blazing down the wing was just another problem for the Leicester defence that they couldn’t contain. The solo run that caused three defenders to look lost was a joy to watch, and something she tried multiple times this game.
After James, Charles was arguably the most dangerous. Chelsea sensed that themselves with a majority of attacks going down that flank. She always thinks forward, and makes sure that the attacks travel forward too. From a full-back, that’s impressive, and she has both the qualities of defending brilliantly, but also leading attacks.Embed from Getty Images
If there’s an aspect that Chelsea fans want the team to improve upon, it will be conceding the two goals, and making the chances come easy for Leicester. With Arsenal next, and Beth Mead returning, you can’t give a player like her, and a team like Arsenal the chance to pounce.