Chelsea 2-0 Man City: Emma Hayes’ side pick up first win of the season

Chelsea 2-0 Man City: Emma Hayes’ side pick up first win of season after Fran Kirby and Maren Mjelde strikes help them to victory over pointless City

  • Chelsea defeated Manchester City in the Women’s Super League this afternoon
  • Fran Kirby’s strike and Maren Mjelde’s penalty gave Emma Hayes’ side the win
  • It was their first win of the season after the defeat against Liverpool last time out weekend
  • City remain without a point so far this season and sit tenth in the WSL table

In years gone by, matches between Chelsea and Manchester City have been pulsating, end-to-end affairs that have finished with high goals.

But after an opening day defeat to newly-promoted Liverpool, Chelsea boss Emma Hayes had said she would be content with a dull and close game with few goals as long as her side came out on top. She got her wish.

This was by no means a classic, but Chelsea were worthy winners, with goals from Fran Kirby and Maren Mjelde securing a 2-0 victory.

Frank Kirby (right) rolled in Chelsea’s opener in what was a dominant first half for her side

Maren Mjelde (second right) scored a penalty 12 minutes from time to make it 2-0 to Chelsea.

“First half I thought we overplayed, we kept playing ourselves into trouble,” Hayes said. ‘Second half we adapted, they stopped pressing. We were lucky in the first half.

‘It felt like today was the season opener, not last week. It looked like two teams that have not gained momentum in the season. I thought it was comfortable at the end after a poor first half. I think the collective leadership in my group is further ahead of Man City.’

City have now lost their first two games of the season for the first time since 2014.

The word crisis is too strong, but all is not well in the blue half of Manchester. The exodus of key players over the summer created a tumultuous pre-season before an early exit from the Champions League.

The presence of former Holland boss Mark Parsons in the crowd at Kingsmeadow may have been a coincidence, but the pressure will continue to mount on City boss Gareth Taylor if results do not improve and the chances of a title challenge already look slim.

Mjelde’s spot-kick gave her side a breather in a dull second half at Kingsmeadow

Emma Hayes’ side picked up their first points of the season after defeat to Liverpool last week

MATCH FACTS

Chelsea (4-2-1-3): Berger, Mjelde (Perisset 86), Bright, Buchanan, Eriksson, Fleming (Ingle 65), Cuthbert, Kirby, James (Rytting Kaneryd 90+1), Reiten (Charles 87), Kerr

Subs not used: Musovic, Carter, England, Svitkova, Charles, Cankovic

Goal: Kirby 42, Mjelde 78

Manager: Emma Hayes

Manchester City (4-3-3): Roebuck, Casparij, Houghton, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Coombs, Aleixandri (Losada 84), Castellanos, Kelly, Hemp (Raso 79), Shaw (Blakstad 84)

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Subs not used: MacIver, Stokes, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Losada, Keating, Hutchings, Blakstad

Reserved: Ouahabi

Goal: None

Manager: Gareth Taylor

Judging: Abigail Byrne

Presence: 4,403

“That’s the nature of the league, I’ve always been negative about that, 22 games is nothing,” Taylor said. It is what it is. Unless teams keep beating each other, maybe you can get away with four defeats in a season and still win the league, so we can’t do much about that.

‘It’s a new team with new players to sleep in. They will be really good players and this will be a really good team.

‘Unfortunately at the moment we have a couple of defeats which are really hard to take but there are positives to take forward.’

Sarina Wiegman was also in the stands. There was a mixed bag of performances from the England players on show, but the standout performer was Lauren James.

The forward was making just her second competitive start for the Blues after her first year was spent working her way up to full fitness. An impressive pre-season was enough to earn her a call-up to last month’s England squad.

There is still more to come from James, but today was proof of the huge potential she has. Her passing, dribbling and awareness were first class. It wasn’t such a good day for City’s England hopes.

Steph Houghton had said this week that she did not want to retire from international football due to injury after missing out on selection for the European Championships.

She got the chance to impress the looking Wiegman, but it’s doubtful she’ll have done enough to force her way into next week’s squad. The defender almost gave Chelsea the opener with a misplaced back pass to goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck. The ball was intercepted by Sam Kerr, but instead of shooting, the striker played a poor pass to Kirby, whose final effort was blocked.

It was a disappointment, but City would be punished just before the break. Jessie Fleming skipped past Houghton on the edge of the box and played through Guro Reiten.

She cut the ball back to an unmarked Kirby and when Roebuck had been pulled off her line she had an empty net to finish in. City could have leveled just after going behind when Laura Coombs hit the post.

The defending champions will be able to take confidence from beating last year’s runners-up

Only one team really looked like scoring in the second half and that was the home team.

James almost doubled their lead with a driving run and strike from the edge of the box, but Roebuck got down to save.

The decisive goal came 12 minutes from time when Sophie Ingle’s shot was blocked by Leila Ouahabi’s hand. Referee Abigail Byrne pointed to the spot and Mjelde converted superbly into the top corner.

Merry

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