Hayes’ train keeps rolling: lessons from Chelsea Women’s win over Spurs
After nearly two months of build-up for Chelsea Women’s first match at Stamford Bridge this season, the Blues put on a show to remember in front of a record crowd of fans. Behind three first-half goals, the Blues put away their London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur early to take advantage of Arsenal’s blunder against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium the day before. Sam Kerr kicked the festivities off, staying cool, calm, and collected, netting a goal in her fourth straight match in all competitions.
Even with former Blues legend on the other side of the pitch at the Bridge this time, Spurs was unable to create any sort of significant opportunity on goal with Ann-Katrin Berger commanding her box with purpose through 90 minutes. With Pernille Harder out for a significant amount of time once again, Hayes didn’t flinch and turned to Jessie Fleming to help fill the role with Kerr, Lauren James, and Guro Reiten in specular form flying toward the Spurs’ net.
Reiten added to her career season, converting a penalty with power and precision, and assisting Erin Cuthbert’s goal of the season to double CFC’s lead in the first half. It is the Norwegian’s eighth assist in all competitions, as she is slowly becoming one of the best creators in all the WSL. Not only did Cuthbert catch the goalkeeper off guard with her swerving volley, but she led the team in total tackles with four, winning possession on three of them to lead the team to frustrate a Spurs’ attack that lacked any sort of answers to piece together any sort of consistent concerning threat towards Berger between the sticks.
Following the confirmation of the three points, Emma Hayes expressed her joy of being back on the sideline for the first time since the West Ham match back in September
“It just felt like I was going back out to my family and I felt like a spectator, for the most part, I just gave little bits of information as and when necessary I really enjoyed it. I felt like I hadn’t been away…I feel like a bit of a mother hen, coming back. Everyone is still operating and doing what they were doing while I’m away.”
It was a dominant outing on Sunday afternoon for the Blues as the margin of victory could have been quite larger, but in the end, the second half was filled with a plethora of close opportunities for Chelsea. Spurs was constantly on the back foot, mounting 17 clearances compared to the Blues’ five on the day. Tottenham was only able to muster seven total touches in the Chelsea penalty area while the Blues totaled 26 through 90 minutes of play.
Reiten, herself collected more touches inside the penalty area of the opposition than the entire Spurs team could manage combined. Despite Spurs coming off one of their most resounding of victories in club history against Brighton, it is clear that Rehanne Skinner and her club have a lot of work to do in order to compete with the best of the best in the WSL. Even without Harder, James, and at times, Eve Perisset made a mockery of the Tottenham backline. With the seventh straight league win now in the books, here are the lessons from a historic afternoon in west London: