Chelsea go top of WSL with 9-0 thrashing of Foxes at King Power Stadium
Guro Reiten scores Chelsea's first goal from a free-kick Picture: Paul Lagan
By Paul Lagan at King Power Stadium
Leicester City 0 v Chelsea 9
Chelsea cruised to the top of the WSL for the first time this season with a thumping 9-0 victory over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium this afternoon.
Arsenal were overhauled in scintillating fashion as the west Londoners ripped the Foxes apart with four goals in their first four attacks – all in the opening 12 minutes.
Guro Reiten set the ball rolling with a fantastic free-kick, and then the goals just kept coming. A second goal by player of the match Reiten, added to a brace by Beth England and Sam Kerr and a tap-in from centre-back Aniek Nouwen were enough to knock the wind out of the home side. Any more and referee Abigail Byrne might have blown the final whistle early to prevent the home side suffering unnecessarily.
But Chelsea just kept on going, and substitutes Lauren James and Jessie Fleming scored late on to give the Blues a record away league victory and a one point lead over the Gooners.
Reiten put the Blues ahead on three minutes when she won a free-kick just outside the Leicester penalty area after a lung-busting run which saw her upended.
She gulped down some air before unleashing a trademark rasper of a left-footer past Demi Lambourne.
Sam Kerr got in on the act two minutes later when she latched onto a long defence-splitter of a ball by Millie Bright. The Australian striker forced a fine save from Lambourne, but snaffled up the rebound and tucked the ball into the empty net.
In the absence of injured Pernille Harder, Beth England has taken her chance up front and added a third on seven minutes when she thumped home past a dazed and bemused Lambourne.
And another goal on 11 minutes as a Reiten corner fell to England, who tried a left-footer. It was on target, arrowing for the far corner, but up popped centre-back Aniek Nouwen on the six-yard line to steer the ball home.
The home side’s first effort on goal came on 23 minutes when Freya Gregory lost her marker on the left. She raced into the Chelsea penalty area, but shot inches wide of Zecira Musovic. To be fair, the goalkeeper was well placed had the ball inched the other side of her right post.
But the Blues, playing in yellow would not be daunted, and on 27 minutes some intricate short, first-time passing on the edge of the Foxes area, saw Reiten free. She clipped an inch-perfect ball to the far post and England bullet-headed the ball home, for her second and Chelsea’s fifth.
On the stroke of half-time – again wonderful short-passing, this time between Ji and Reiten saw the Norway winger produce a wonderful Glenn Hoddle-like chip to make it 6-0.
Jessie Fleming came on for Ji at half-time.
Within seconds of the start of the second half, it was seventh heaven for the Londoners as an England cross was met by Kerr and she directed a fierce downwards header past the hapless Lambourne.
On 62 minutes, Magda Eriksson replaced Jess Carter and Nouwen came off for Maren Mjelde as Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes gave minutes to a couple of players returning from injury.
Next to have a run-out was Lauren James, Drew Spence and Jonna Andersson on 7o minutes. Off came England, Ingle, and Reiten.
Usually after so many substitutions, the rhythm of the game tends to alter and so it was with Chelsea, who dropped their level slightly, but enough to give Leicester some breathing space.
But Chelsea went for another goal late on, Spence forced a good save by Lambourne with 10 minutes left on the clock while Erin Cuthbert dinked the crossbar direct from a corner.
But it was James who clipped home from six yards out to make it eight, while Fleming arrowed a low drive into the corner on 90 minutes to make it 9-0
Teams: Chelsea, Musovic, Nouwen, Bright, Ingle, Carter, England, Ji, Reiten, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert
Subs, Eriksson, Fleming, Mjelde, James, S-wince, Andersson, Abdullina, Berger
Leicester City, Lambourne, Tierney, Brougham, Flint, Pike, De Graaf, Howard, Gregory, Plumptre, Purfield, O’Brien
Subs, Goodwin, Bailey-Gayle, Barker, Boddy, Robinson, Harris