Blues crash to 2-0 defeat to City and drop to third in WSL
By Paul Lagan at The Academy Stadium
Man City 2 v Chelsea 0
Chelsea crumbled to the pressure of retaining their league title with a humbling 2-0 defeat at the hands of rival Manchester City at the Academy this afternoon.
Shambolic defending caused the goals, while anaemic attack play meant the west Londoners could not respond.
Chelsea slip to third in the WSL with the two Manchester sides occupying the top slots.
Chelsea’s only saving grace which could see them back on top is that they are two points behind but they have a game in hand.
But this is a side, struggling with injures and tiredness and that game in hand is not the insurance policy it might appear.
The Blues face Lyon atStamford Bridge in the second leg of the Champions League with a slender 1-0 advantage.
Should Sam Kerr learn what the offside rule is and stay on, then there is a hope they could progress.
Emma Hayes made early substitutions as a result of going 2-0 down, but they failed to do nothing other than stem the City attack, something the home side were happy to observe and they ran out deserved winners.
The early pressure fell to the visitors, with half chances falling to Sam Kerr without and solid outcome.
But gradually a succession of corners by City saw them assume assendency of the game.
And on 21 minutes, they took the lead.
Fillppa Angeldahl was alone and unchallenged on the apex of the Chelsea area.
With space and time to think, she simply, but expertly dinked the ball back, high across the goal and the ball drifted into the far side of Ann-Katrin Bergr’s net.
Again terrible defending by the west Londoners were their undoing on 31 minutes.
Sloppy and a poor header out by Kadeisha Buchanan, albeit under pressure from Khadija Shaw saw the ball fall invitenly to Lauren Hemp. Who had the composure and class to produce the perfect, slightly curling, in-swinging left-footer that shot past the prone Berger to double the home side’s lead.
Chelsea Emma Hayes realising it was all going wrong opted to make changes on 37 minutes - off went Sophie Ingle with Niamh Charles replacing her and slightly more worryingly Lauren James was replaced by Johann Rytting Kaneryd.
The desire now was to push City back by employing Kaneryd wide on the right with Charles pushing high on the left.
It was a high-risk strategy, that failed.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Frustration started to creep into the heads of the visitors with Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert bemused at some of the decisions laid against them by referee Paul Howard.
Hayes saw that those changes were not having the desired effect and brought on Jenna Cankovic for right-back Maren Mjelde on 67 minutes.
Charles was repositioned as the full back with Cankovic doing what Charles should have done.
Such was the disorganisation on the pitch, a self-inflicted clash by Melanie Leupolz with Erin Cuthbert, left the Scottish terrier prone on the pitch, from which she failed to recover and was replaced by Jessie Fleming on 80 minutes.
She must now be a doubt for the Lyon clash.
It made little difference. City simply ran down the clock, Chelsea simply ran out of ideas and puff.
Teams: Chelsea : Berger, Ingle, Carter, Leupolz, James, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kerr, Cuthbert, Buchanan
Subs: Musovic, Perisset, Fleming, Kaneryd, Charles, Abdullina, Cankovic
City: Roebuck, Aleixandri, Greenwood, Houghton, Coombs, Kelly, Hemp, Angeldahl, Morgan, Shaw, Hasegawa
Subs: MacIver, Casparij, Stokes, Fowler, Castellanos, Raso, Ouahabi, Kennedy, Blakstad
Referee: Paul Howard