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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Leicester suffer six of the best as they are spanked by title chasers Chelsea who left Kerr on bench

By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow


Chelsea 6 Leicester City 0

Chelsea have leaders Manchester United firmly in their sights after dispatching lowly Leicester City 6-0 at Kingsmeadow tonight.

With a game in hand the Blues are now a point behind leaders United and the pair meet on Sunday, not in the WSL but in the FA Cup final.

The following week it could all change.

United face fourth-placed City in the Manchester derby, while the Blues entertain third place Arsenal - both games on Sunday.

Head coach Emma Hayes opted to keep star striker Sam Kerr under wraps and left her on the bench - instead Pernille Harder got a valuable 65 minutes.

Harder helped herself to a brace, while Guro Reiten, Erin Cuthbert and Lauren James notched up a goal apiece, while Jelena Cankovic helped herself to an injury time goal to make it six of the best.

That’s 13 goals in the last two games for the Blues which also meant they are level on goal difference with United.

Chelsea’s desire to make a quick and positive start worked as Niamh Charles as left wing-back and left winger

Reiten combined well on several occasions - neither resulted in a goal.

But Reiten was on the spot to take full advantage on seven minutes, when she latched onto a right byline cutback by Harder, which, granted took a slight deflection, but Reiten had timed her run into the Leicester penalty area -superbly and cooly slid the ball wide of Janina Leitzig to make it 1-0.

Ten minutes later and it was 2-0.

This time, no fancy sophisticated passing, just good old blood, guts and pressure.

Erin Cuthbert dispossessed Leicester in the middle of the park.

She still had a lot to do. But she did it, racing into the penalty area. She took one touch to her right, relegating Leitzig to a spectator and arrowed home the ball into an empty net.

The pressure told on the visitors who were being run ragged by the constant switch of play, that had them wrong-footed and hoping someone else would halt the attack.

Sadly for them, Harder was at the far post as a James goal-bound effort was arrowed into the striker’s path and she tapped it in with her left boot to make it 3-0.

Four minutes from the break and something similar occurred.

While not a dispossession of the ball, it nevertheless found itself at the feet of Harder.

The striker was all alone so decided attack was the best thing to do.

The Leicester defence pulled back as Harder advanced and when she was on the edge of the area, she chose to curl a daisy-cutter. Leitzig did her best to get a big hand on the ball, but to no avail and the Blues went 4-0 up.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

There are times when the game looks difficult, and then there’s the times James gets hold of the ball and the world stands still to admire.

On 55 minutes, Eve Perisset sent James away on the right.

The winger, on her trusty left boot, decided to cut inside, drift past a couple of bewildered defenders before thumping home a venomous left-footer which smashed into the back of the net to make it 5-0.

Hayes decided to make changes on 64 minutes - on came Sophie Ingle for Cuthbert and as expected, Harder, James and Reiten went off for Jessie Fleming, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Alsu Abdullina.

Kadeisha Buchanan entered the fray after her recent injury, off went skipper Magda Eriksson.

With the clock ticking away to 93 minutes, Cankovic slotted home from the edge of the penalty area.

It was all too predictable, too easy.

Chelsea: Berger, Carter, Leupolz, James, Reiten, Perisset, Eriksson, Charles, Cuthbert, Harder, Cankovic

Subs: Musovic, Ingle, Svitkova, Fleming, Mjelde, Rytting Kaneryd, Kerr, Buchanan, Abdullina

Leicester: Leitzig, Nevin, Tierney, Bolt, Whelan, Green, Siemens, Goodwin, Cain, Purfield, Mace

Subs: Lambourne, Levell, Jones, O’Brien, Smith, Robinson, Reavill

Referee: Rebecca Walsh


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