Chelsea 3-1 BK Häcken: 3 takeaways as Cuthbert acts as catalyst to vital UWCL win

Led by No. 22 in the middle of the pitch, Chelsea Women clinched a crucial triumph to go top of Group D in the UEFA Women's Champions League.
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For the second successive campaign, Chelsea Women completed a calendar year the right way. It's like a little present under the tree for all those who celebrate Christmas knowing that the "Girls in Blue" are leading the pack both domestically and in Europe. The mantra of "no excuses" came into the play once again as Emma Hayes' team battled a short turnaround, injuries, and an artificial pitch.

With a 0-0 draw from last week behind it, the west Londoners headed to Sweden, becoming the first team in the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2023 to put three past BK Hacken. In front of the stellar crowd at the Bravida Arena in Gothenburg, the Blues pushed themselves to the top of the Group D table. That was thanks to a goal by Sam Kerr and two from the "Wee Scot", Erin Cuthbert.

Compared to what went down at Stamford Bridge in the reverse fixture, this was much more entertaining for the neutral football fan. Mak Lind's side presented Hayes' defense with a larger challenge, especially down the left flank with 20-year-old Swede Monica Bah.

Within the first four minutes, Hacken's attacking presence was established. A brilliant opener by Sam Kerr did not in anyway discourage the home side. Just 12 minutes following the Kerr goal, Canadian Clarissa Larisey equalized. The Chels' defensive frailties continue to be a problem as the backline has already conceded four more goals in the group stage compared to last year.

Hayes' side came out of the dressing room all knotted up at the half with the intention to leave Sweden with all the points. Cuthbert, who was sensational all night made sure of it, netting a goal with both her feet just 12 minutes apart in the second half. Just two group stage contests await the Blues at the end of January, one at home and one in Paris. The difference after this one is this group controls its own destiny in its path to finish top. Prior to your mind switching over to the men's team completely for the next few weeks, here are our takeaways from an eventful victory in the Nordics.

3 takeaways from the final match for Chelsea Women of the 2023 calendar year