Goal-shy Blues held to 0-0 draw by robust Swedish outfit Hacken in Champions League
By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 0 v Hacken 0
Chelsea huffed and puffed but could not blow down the house that Hacken had built and the Blues could only muster a drab 0-0 draw against the robust Swedish outfit in the Champions League group match at the Bridge.
That the house wasn't that strong in particular says it all about the lack of a cutting edge by the home side who remain second in Group D, two points behind their opponents.
It was a frustrating game for the 3,000 or so fans that inhabited the East stand as the Blues simply lost they way when it got to the final third of the pitch.
Misplaced passes, that were either too long or too short, the wrong angle or simply the wrong choice affected every player when they ventured forward.
It's a malaise that needs serous attention and head coach Emma Hayes has only Sunday's away match at Bristol City in the WSL to sort it out before the return leg in Sweden on December 20.
That will be a must-win game for the west Londoners.
An excellent break in the first two minutes almost yielded a goal for Sam Kerr but Hacken hacked the ball away for a corner.
Fran Kirby was next up – but her sliced shot was again deflected away for a corner.
The England attacking midfielder received three minutes of treatment after a Hacken defender slid into her.
A snap shot from yet another corner, this time by Kerr inched wide of the visitors' left crossbar as the Blues went decisively into attack mode.
Guro Reiten then had a goal-bound shot blocked by goalkeeper Jennifer Falk on 12 minutes.
Hacken's speed merchant Clarissa Larisey fed onto a long ball and attacked the Blues area. Her shot, took a pace-slowing defection off Jess carter and fell invitingly into the palms of Zecira Musovic on 16 minutes.
Erin Cuthbert had the perfect chance to open the score on 27 minutes but she finished off the play that she started by thumping the ball towards an empty net. But her effort ricocheted off the cross bar and was cleared to safety.
There were no changes by the Blues at half-time.
Another good block by Falk thwarted Johanna Rytting Kaneryd, who broke the offside trap. But failed to show the clinical finishing needed.
The Blues looked as anaemic in the final third as they were in the first half and it led to head coach making substitutions.
On came Lauren James and Sjoeke Nusken – off came Cuthbert and Rytting Kaneryd on 64 minutes.
There was not much improvement and The Blues looked liable to be suckered punched from the swift heels of Hacken substitute Monica Jusu Bah who proved to be a serious speed merchant.
Hayes then opted to bring on Aggie Beever-Jones but not before offside merchant Kerr, nodded home with a looping header but was adjudged ,rightly, to be offside on 74 minutes.
Reiten getting minutes on the pitch following her injury was the one replaced.
James tried a long range effort, but it was weak and Falk had not trouble clutching it into her midriff on 78 minutes.
With the clock ticking down and no progress, Hayes made another substitution, this time taking off Kirby and bringing on US striker Mia Fishel.
Teams: Chelsea: Musovic, Ingle, carter, Reiten, Kirby, Perisset, Rytting Kaneryd, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert, Buchanan
Subs:Hampton, Fishel, Nusken, James, Fleming, |Mjelde, Beever-Jones, Brown
Hacken: Falk, Luik, Rybrink, Kafaji, Larisey, Sandberg, Junttila Nelhage, Fossdalsa Sorensen, Bergman-Lundin, Anvegard, Kosola
Subs: Geurts, Hoglund-Jansson, Grant, |Jusu Bah, Johansson, Csiki, Lowing, Wijk, Schroder, Masaka
Referee: Esther Staubli (Switzerland)