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HomeNewsWest Ham 0-4 Chelsea: Blues ease to victory to return to top...

West Ham 0-4 Chelsea: Blues ease to victory to return to top of WSL

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Niamh Charles celebrates
Niamh Charles scored on her 100th appearance for Chelsea

Chelsea returned to the top of the Women’s Super League table with victory at West Ham, putting them in pole position to defend their title with two games remaining.

Emma Hayes’ side, recently crowned FA Cup champions, are chasing a fourth successive league title.

It was a routine win in London as Pernille Harder capped off another impressive display with a goal.

Niamh Charles, Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert were also on the scoresheet.

Victory ensures Chelsea sit two points clear of challengers Manchester United – who they beat at Wembley on Sunday – having played 20 matches each.

In a pulsating title race, Chelsea also extended their advantage in goal difference, moving four above Manchester United.

They held a narrow 1-0 lead at the break thanks to Charles against a stubborn West Ham side who have not won a game in the WSL since December.

Harder’s clinical finish shortly after the break doubled their lead and Chelsea were never really troubled at the Chigwell Construction Stadium as Ingle pounced on a rebound to make it 3-0 and substitute Cuthbert added a sublime fourth.

“Once again it’s a great team effort because we’ve played so many games back-to-back,” Chelsea manager Hayes told Sky Sports.

“We want to keep clean sheets, that’s important. We got an early goal but didn’t build on it. We struggled in creating the overload like we wanted to and had to adjust that at half-time.

“I don’t talk about goals, I talk about performance. I wanted them to go out and build on the first half performance.”

Chelsea edge closer to title

This result means Chelsea could win the WSL title this weekend if they beat Arsenal and Manchester United fail to beat rivals Manchester City.

They are at the business end of the season and Chelsea showed their experience and superiority to take their chances and make light work of a struggling West Ham side.

Harder, who had an enormous impact off the bench in their FA Cup final win over United three days ago, returned to the starting XI as one of seven changes made by Hayes.

So strong is Chelsea’s depth, they were able to rotate key players Guro Reiten and Cuthbert, as well as making three changes to the backline, without seeing any drop off in performance.

Ingle, another of those to return after impressing at Wembley, was the one to slide it through to Harder after half-time, before adding a goal herself, heading in a rebound from close range.

Victory also capped off a celebratory evening for Charles, who made her 100th appearance for the club aged just 23 and reacted quickest to the rebound from Sam Kerr’s shot to score in the first half.

West Ham concerns linger

Erin Cuthbert celebrates
Erin Cuthbert came off the bench to score in the 93rd minute for Chelsea

While Chelsea’s momentum continues, it was another unwelcome defeat for West Ham, who have now gone 10 games without victory.

They performed well in patches – England international Lucy Parker impressing in midfield, while forward Viviane Asseyi had a few half-chances.

They came close to scoring at the end when substitute Amalie Thestrup had an effort cleared off the line by Jess Carter and Kate Longhurst struck inches wide from long range.

But while they failed to take their rare opportunities, Cuthbert showed ruthlessness at the other end, extending Chelsea’s advantage in stoppage-time with a fine strike.

It has been a concerning end to the season for Paul Konchesky’s side as they were well beaten by Chelsea.

Line-ups

West Ham Women

Formation 5-3-2

  • 1Arnold
  • 3Shimizu
  • 22Fisk
  • 23CissokoBooked at 28mins
  • 5TysiakSubstituted forSnerleat 55′minutes
  • 2Smith
  • 7EvansSubstituted forThestrupat 65′minutes
  • 15Parker
  • 12Longhurst
  • 10BrynjarsdóttirSubstituted forHayashiat 65′minutes
  • 26AsseyiSubstituted forAtkinsonat 81′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Snerle
  • 11Atkinson
  • 14Thestrup
  • 18Denton
  • 19Hayashi
  • 21Cooke
  • 28Hillyerd
  • 33Houssein
  • 60Ademiluyi

Chelsea Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Musovic
  • 7Carter
  • 26Buchanan
  • 16Eriksson
  • 21CharlesSubstituted forAbdullinaat 81′minutes
  • 5Ingle
  • 17FlemingSubstituted forCuthbertat 69′minutes
  • 19Rytting Kaneryd
  • 28CankovicSubstituted forJamesat 69′minutes
  • 23HarderSubstituted forReitenat 69′minutes
  • 20KerrSubstituted forSvitkováat 81′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Leupolz
  • 10James
  • 11Reiten
  • 13Svitková
  • 15Périsset
  • 18Mjelde
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 27Abdullina
  • 30Berger

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