Man City vs Birmingham: City put pressure on Chelsea with crucial three points

Manchester City celebrate.
Manchester City celebrate in their game against Birmingham City at the City Academy Stadium, Manchester, United Kingdom on 2 May 2021.

Amid a flurry of off-pitch action for Birmingham, they made the journey up north to face Gareth Taylor’s Manchester City. Taylor’s side are on a run of incredible league form and have not suffered a defeat in the WSL since October.

Story of the game

Within seconds Manchester City could have been in the lead with a determined charge from Alex Greenwood. In the 10th minute, Chloe Kelly put City into the lead propelling them to the top of the WSL table.

City’s continued dominance paid off as Kelly doubled her goal tally in the 23rd minute giving the home side some much needed breathing space. The home side may have been dominating the possession they were wasteful with chances, overplaying simple passes.

City’s complacency almost allowed Birmingham to come back into the game. A series of fouls allowed the visitors to launch their first real attack on Ellie Roebuck’s goal but England’s number one stood tall.

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The second half brought more chances for City but they failed to capitalise and temporarily kept Birmingham in the game. City suffered a blow when a stretcher was needed for Chloe Kelly following a nasty injury in the Birmingham penalty area. The striker required several minutes of treatment on the pitch from the incident which led to a penalty.

When play resumed Caroline Weir’s spot-kick was saved by Birmingham keeper Hannah Hampton. Esme Morgan made it 3-0 to the hosts with a shot from a corner kick in the 84th minute. An extra-time goal for American international Sam Mewis made it 4-0 from a Janine Beckie corner.

That win puts City at the top of the WSL with just one fixture remaining for themselves. Chelsea have a game in-hand on them which will see the race for the title go down to the final day of the season.

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Stand out performances

Kelly and Weir were outstanding. Weir had numerous shots that left Hampton scrambling while Kelly was City’s main attacking threat. With Kelly arguably City’s player of the season, her injury comes as a huge blow to herself and the club.

In almost every game she has featured in, Kelly has made a direct contribution either by scoring herself or assisting her teammates. With the forward potentially sidelined for an extended period of time, her team will no doubt miss her creativity and talent in front of goal.

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