West Ham Women 0 – 4 Chelsea Women
Chelsea cruised to a 4-0 victory at West Ham thanks to goals from Niamh Charles, Pernille Harder, Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert to leave themselves just two wins from a fourth consecutive Women’s Super League title.
The victory puts Emma Hayes’ side two points clear of Manchester United and five clear of Arsenal with just two games to play. They will eliminate the Gunners from contention if they avoid defeat when the two sides meet on Sunday, with Chelsea then ending their campaign at Reading on May 27.
The Blues dominated throughout at the Dagenham and Redbridge Stadium and took the lead after just 13 minutes through Charles, while West Ham were a touch fortunate to be only one goal down at half-time after a series of risky Hawa Cissoko challenges in the area.
But Chelsea doubled their lead shortly after half-time through Harder and the points were secured by Ingle’s close-range header and Cuthbert’s powerful drive, with the result leaving West Ham eighth and still without a league win in 2023.
West Ham: Arnold (5), Shimizu (5), Fisk (5), Cissoko (4), Tysiak (5), Smith (5), Evans (6), Parker (6), Longhurst (6), Brynjarsdottir (6), Asseyi (5).
subs: Snerle (5), Thestrup (5), Hayashi (5), Atkinson (n/a).
Chelsea: Musovic (6), Carter (7), Buchanan (7), Eriksson (7), Charles (8), Ingle (9), Fleming (7), Kaneryd (8), Cankovic (7), Harder (8), Kerr (6).
subs: Ride (7), James (7), Cuthbert (7), Svitkova (n/a), Abdullina (n/a).
Player of the match: Sophie Ingl.
How Chelsea closed on another WSL title
Arsenal’s win at Everton earlier on Wednesday raised the stakes for Chelsea ahead of kick-off at West Ham and ensured three teams will still be in title contention ahead of the penultimate round of fixtures.
But the Blues know they have the title in their hands after their fifth win in a row, while their victory over the Hammers also officially ruled Manchester City out of contention for top spot.
- West Ham brought in Smith, Shimizu and Tysiak for Atkinson, Snerle and Denton
- Chelsea made seven changes to the side that beat Manchester United in the FA Cup final, with Musovic, Ingle, Carter, Kaneryd, Harder, Buchanan and Cankovic coming in
West Ham made their intentions of frustrating Chelsea clear with their five-player defense but the plan fell apart after just 13 minutes when Charles swept in the rebound after Sam Kerr’s shot was blocked.
Cissoko could have earlier conceded a penalty when she moved her arm into the way of a shot, with the West Ham defender then escaping punishment for a clumsy tackle on Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and only seeing a free-kick awarded for a push on Kerr on the edge of the area.
Mackenzie Arnold made a smart stop from Harder before the half was out but she could get nowhere near her effort in the 48th minute, with the Denmark international lashing the ball into the far corner after being set up by Ingle.
The midfielder then added her name to the scoresheet when Arnold tipped Magdalena Eriksson’s header onto the bar, only to see the ball fall to Ingle just yards from goal.
Amalie Thestrup saw a shot cleared off the line by Jessica Carter and Kate Longhurst drilled a half-volley just over as West Ham searched for a consolation goal, only to see Cuthbert come off the bench to smash in Chelsea’s fourth in stoppage time.
Chelsea are now unbeaten in 10 WSL games against West Ham – nine of which have been wins – while they have lost just one of their last 25 London derbies in the competition.
Hayes: I won’t reveal our training secrets!
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Hayes has made 75 changes to her starting XI in the WSL this season – considerably more than any other manager – and, after making seven alterations for the trip to West Ham, she revealed how she ensures the consistency of her side’s performances amid so much turnover .
speaking to Sky SportsHayes said: “We’ve got clear playing principles and they’re worked on all of the time. We train everyone in position all of the time, so whatever they’re doing they’re always training as themselves, in and out of possession.
“Sometimes I’ll put combinations of players together so they can build on that, particularly in the build-up to a week.
“But with the number of games we play, plus the internationals, that’s a lot of football for these players. We’ve been able to keep players on the pitch as a result of that methodology.”
However, the Chelsea boss was unwilling to divulge any more information regarding her periodization techniques that are designed to keep her players in optimal condition, saying: “You’ve got to pay me a lot of money to tell you.
“Do you think I’m going to give away the crown jewels? These are the secrets to our success so I’m not going to spill them out on national TV.”
Chelsea have now scored 17 goals in their last three WSL games and are four ahead of United on goal difference, with Hayes saying: “I’m glad that Erin got the fourth one at the end because I think that might be important.”
Konchesky: We gave a good account of ourselves
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West Ham manager Paul Konchesky thought his side gave a good account of themselves against Chelsea and the final score flattered the visitors a little.
“We went in one-nil down at half-time but I thought we gave a good account of ourselves,” Konchesky told Sky Sports.
“I said at half-time that we had to come out in the second half and stay in the game for at least 10 minutes. When you come out at half-time and they score after two-and-a-half minutes, it’s always going to be a mountain to climb. [But] think the fourth goal was a bit harsh for us.”
west ham visit leicester in their penultimate WSL fixture on Sunday May 21 at 3pm before finishing at home against Tottenham on Saturday May 27, kick-off 2.30pm.
Chelsea continue their title quest with a huge fixture at home to arsenal on Sunday May 21, kick-off 12.30pm, before completing their season at Reading on Saturday May 27, kick off 2.30pm.
Opta stats: Chelsea keep up scoring form
- Chelsea have scored in each of their last five games in the WSL, scoring 22 goals in that run.
- Chelsea attempted 677 passes in the game, their highest total in a single match in the WSL this season.
- Erin Cuthbert has scored in each of her last three games in the WSL (three goals), her longest scoring streak in the competition.
- West Ham have failed to score in nine of their 20 games – only Leicester (13) have failed to score more often in the WSL this season.