Chelsea 3-0 Bristol City: 3 takeaways as Blues go three points clear at top of WSL tree

Lauren James' wonder strike helps propel Chelsea Women past Bristol City on the road as it takes advantage of Arsenal's slip-up in north London.

Bristol City v Chelsea FC  - Barclays Women's Super League
Bristol City v Chelsea FC - Barclays Women's Super League / Ryan Hiscott/GettyImages
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Erin Cuthbert, Amalie Thestrup
Bristol City v Chelsea FC - Barclays Women's Super League / Ryan Hiscott/GettyImages

3. Hannah Hampton impressed in her Chelsea debut

The English international stop stopper had not been called on to start in goal in any competition since last May. In a fixture opposite of the newly promoted outfit, Hayes slotted Hampton between the sticks for her first appearance in Chelsea blue. Sure, she didn't face all that many shots, but when she did, the youngster dealt with them well.

No. 24 made a confident claim from a corner, and was the instrumental in her side heading into the dressing room at the half up by two. The former Villarreal youth player came off her line to deny Ffion Morgan of what looked to be a clear-cut chance at a breakthrough. The opportunity produced a post-shot xG of 0.36, the second-highest of any chance in that first 45 minutes. In terms of distribution, her 69 percent long ball accuracy was the highest by goalkeeper for Hayes' side this season in the WSL.

We all knew after she did not move out on loan, her minutes as the third-string keeper were going to be few and far between. To see her debut for the club prior to 2024 was definitely not something anyone would have predicted. Given the age of the two other keepers, the ex-Birmingham City standout has to be the No. 1 of the future. We're not saying it was a masterclass. That would be a bit of an overreaction. Hampton did the job, and did it well. Whether it be in the FA Cup or a Champions League group stage game, this performance merits another start.

2. Erin Cuthbert did Erin Cuthbert things in the midfield

No. 22 eats, sleeps, and breathes Chelsea Football Club. We all know it. That passion she showed after scoring that volley only hammers home the point even more. The goal was top-class, a classic Erin Cuthbert finish. The Scot had all day to line up her shot as Bristol watched the midfielder wind up and prepare to unload to cracker into the bottom left-hand corner. That pace. That precision. It's just special.

In addition to the goal, her second in the last five including Scotland games, the way she disrupted the Robins' play was critical in the path to success. It's what she does. No. 22 is the engine. The work horse. The veteran was arguably one of the best players on the pitch against Hacken, and continued that trend into the weekend.

With her new midfield partner back in central defense Nusken at center back, Cuthbert completed 89 percent of her passes. Here's the kicker, the Scot didn't lose a single tackle, going four for four while finishing with a game high 13 duels won. Credit Amy Rodgers who was quality that afternoon, consistently fighting right alongside the 25-year-old. You don't expect anything less from the always reliable No. 22. Few players impact winning quite like Cuthbert does in this league.