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Chelsea have proven once again that they know how to grind out results when it matters most after their 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the WSL on Sunday.
That score-line has Chelsea two points above United into first place in the WSL table, with the opportunity to extend their lead when an outstanding game in hand comes into play.
Sam Kerr’s lobbed goal in the 23rd minute, latching onto a raking through ball from Lauren James from deep on the right, was enough to get the job done.
It certainly wasn’t a masterful performance from Chelsea by any means. They only had 36% of the ball and their passing wasn’t at their usual high level, but they managed to sit back, invite Manchester United’s pressure, and limit the visitors to a handful of half-chances.
Chelsea have now scored in 14 of their 15 games, a feat that no team has done so more often in the WSL this season, and the victory shows how the club have managed to win five WSL titles and the one-off Spring Series in the last eight years: they know how to grind out results against top opposition and have the experience to remain calm when facing wave after wave of attack.
It was a particularily important win given that several of Chelsea’s stars weren’t availble for selection due to injury – Fran Kirby, Guro Reiten, Pernille Harder, Katerina Svitkova and Erin Cuthbert were all out – but Hayes’ squad is deep, and those on the pitch managed to step up when it counted.
“Tremendous team performance from everyone, especially being the third game of the week, and especially considering the illness, and some of the injuries we’ve had in the camp. But the players stepped up,” said Hayes after the victory.
‘”I thought it was disciplined, especially out of possession, we carried out the game plan, and we thoroughly deserved to win.”