Chelsea return to top with resounding victory

Magdalena Eriksson celebrates with teammates.
Magdalena Eriksson celebrates with Bethany England and Chelsea team mates after scoring against Aston Villa on 27 January 2021. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea team travelled to Banks’s Stadium to play out a 4-0 victory over Aston Villa. The hosts entered into today’s game in 11th place with only one win in their last five league games. The visitors meanwhile, had the opportunity to move into the top spot with a win.

How the teams lined up: 

Aston villa:   Weiss; Ale, N’Dow, Asante, Haigh, Hayles, Ewers (c), Haywood, Hanssen, Iwabuchi, Larsen

Chelsea: Telford; Bright, Ingle, England, Reiten, Eriksson (c), Fleming, Mjelde, Kerr, Charles, Harder

Almost immediately, Chelsea proved why they’re regarded as one of the giants of the game with Sam Kerr capitalising on a defensive error just two minutes in. Twelve minutes later, Beth England rattled the crossbar. Chelsea never stopped pressing but Villa’s defence held up well.

READ: Chelsea set new record for unbeaten WSL run

England doubled the visitors’ lead ten minutes before the break with a header from a pinpoint Kerr cross. The teams emerged for the second half and straight away Villa were pushing harder. 

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The hosts were more assured, breaking up passes and defending better. As the rain fell in the midlands and the pitch became heavier, the home side only grew into the game.

Pernille Harder scored a tidy third from a corner, the goal coming almost against the run of play in the 67th minute. Magdalena Eriksson then made it four just two minutes later to secure the victory.

After the fourth goal went in, Villa’s improved display seemed to melt away. Every time the hosts went up the pitch their, attack amounted to nothing. Chelsea again found their first half form and the spaces the Villains had been exploiting were closed down.

Standout performances

Ale was superb from start to finish. Every Villa attack started with her, as did the tight defensive moves. Iwabuchi was also a key figure. Whenever Villa managed to get up to Chelsea’s goal, she was leading the charge.

For Chelsea, Kerr was excellent. A goal and an assist and near constant pressure on the home side’s defence. Millie Bright and Maren Mjelde were an almost unbreakable wall that the hosts struggled to crack.

The scoreline certainly doesn’t tell the whole story in this game. Villa’s defence was good and withstood waves of Chelsea attacks. At times, Chelsea’s performance wasn’t as razor sharp as usual but their excellent defence allowed them to grow back into the game and bag the victory.

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