Manchester City Women affirmed their position in the WSL title race with a convincing win over reigning champions Chelsea at the Academy Stadium. First half goals from Filippa Angeldahl and Lauren Hemp secured a 2-0 victory for the blues, their first WSL victory over Chelsea under Gareth Taylor.
City made two changes from the team that lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in the FA Cup, with Steph Houghton and Laura Coombs returning to the side at the expense of Kerstin Casparij and Deyna Castellanos as City looked to maintain their title charge.
Although the blues were excellent in the first half, City didn’t have everything their own way and it was the visitors who had the better of the opening exchanges. Ellie Roebuck, back in WSL action after missing the match at Brighton two weeks ago, was called into action to prevent Sam Kerr from beating her at the near post, and later prevented Sophie Ingle’s deflected effort from finding the back of the goal.
They would be the best chances Chelsea had as City took a grip on the game and forced the visitors back into their own half. The blues were finding space inside the Chelsea area but couldn’t take advantage, and it would take something special to break the deadlock.
And Angeldahl duly obliged.
Chelsea were hesitant in defence and a ball out from the back was cut out by the Swede. Chloe Kelly, who tormented the Chelsea left side throughout the first half, charged forward before finding Angeldahl in space on the edge of the penalty area. Taking a touch, the Swede floated a magnificent strike beyond the keeper and into the top corner to give City the lead.
City were swarming all over the champions and when Hemp made it 2-0 on 29 minutes, the fans were wondering just how many City could get. Kelly’s cross into the box wasn’t dealt with and Coombs had time to knock the ball down and find Hemp completely unmarked. The England winger wasted no time and arrowed a first-time strike into the corner of the goal to leave Chelsea shell-shocked.
The blues had their tails up and went in search of further goals as the Chelsea defence struggled to get to grips with the relentless City attacks. Manager Emma Hayes decided enough was enough and made a surprise double change on 35 minutes, such was City’s dominance.
2-0 at half-time and the blues were on their way to second place in the league, level on points with United.
Chelsea had a little more zip behind them in the second half as they tried to push the blues back. However, City defence was strongly marshalled by Houghton and Alex Greenwood as the visitors struggled to break through.
The blues were still a threat at the other half of the field, with Angeldahl firing wide and Bunny Shaw seeing her looping header go over. Chelsea had an opportunity to make it an interesting final few minutes through Melanie Leupolz. For once, City allowed a Chelsea player to find some space in the area but, summing up Chelsea’s afternoon, Leupolz blazed over the bar.
What This Means
City are now up to second in the table, moving above Chelsea who drop into third and Arsenal fall out of the Champions League places. It can all change again should both of those win their games in hand, but the blues have their destiny in their own hands.
City must travel to both Arsenal and United and victory in those games would set up a thrilling end to the season.
Final Score: Manchester City Women 2-0 Chelsea Women.