Back where they belong: takeaways from Chelsea’s win over United

Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /
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Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /

On the heels of a critical win over Aston Villa at Kingsmeadow, the Blues encountered the hottest team in the Women’s Super League this season. Denise Reddy and the Chelsea Women traveled north to Leigh Sports Village where they continued their success against Manchester United, outlasting the Red Devils 3-1. Marc Skinner’s team has not let in a single goal in the WSL until their meeting with the Blues. These two teams have met seven times including Sunday, and CFCW has not lost a single fixture. The last three times that United has allowed three or more goals in the WSL were in battles with the Blues.

The combination of Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, and Lauren James proved too much to handle as Man United could not create the quality of chances compared to the ones the Blues manufactured. The Red Devils’ mistakes in the back ended up being their kryptonite on Sunday evening, gift-wrapping the Blues their first goal that Kerr converted to put Chelsea in the position to expose the backline much more effectively for the rest of the contest.

Following the triumph, general manager Paul Green spoke on the team’s performance, stating

"“I think we found a way in the second half. For 15 or 20 minutes when we went 2-0 up, I thought some of the football we played was outstanding. I think we thoroughly deserved the win and we were congratulating the group on this period of games with Denise (Reddy) and myself in charge. All of [the games] are difficult in their own way but this game and the one against PSG away were two that came out and you thought ‘we’re going to have to be at our best and find a way to win’, and I think we did in the second half. We did enough and showed why we are champions of England.”"

Erin Cuthbert may have been the sole reason for Manchester United finding its way back into the game with an Alessia Russo goal to cut the lead in half, but the Scotland international made up for it with her persistence in creating the deflection for the game-sealing goal in stoppage time. The consistent Millie Bright in the back made a few errors in the back, but the Blues never seemed to pay for them.

United continued an effort to attack Bright on the right side of the back three, but the Blues adjusted quickly to compensate for the speed disadvantage. This could have been an area that the Red Devils could have exploited with Russo, and now Nikita Parris, but Kadeisha Buchanan continues to prove why she was one of the most important acquisitions in the WSL this past summer. In a contest following the debacle that is the Chelsea men’s team, the women continue to be that perfect outlet of positivity and success for Blues fans everywhere.