Last season’s women’s Super League top scorer Sam Kerr scored twice as Chelsea dismantled Everton 4-0 at Kingsmeadow.
Kerr’s brace was complemented by PFA Player of the Year Fran Kirby and England striker Beth England to doom Everton to their second 4-0 loss in just two games, prompting the business and sporting director of Everton, Sarvar Ismailov, to tweet “unacceptable” after aggressive summer spending.
Perhaps fueled by the frustration of a 3-2 Day 1 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Chelsea came to life in front of a vibrant home crowd, waving flags and vocal. It was time to erase the slate.
“Everyone blows up the first game of the season disproportionately,” Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said ahead of their first home game of the season. Except in a 12-team league, every game counts, especially against title rivals. Hayes hadn’t started with his strongest eleven, however, with Kerr and Kirby sitting on the bench not having much free time after the Olympics.
Everton also struggled in their season opener, suffering a 4-0 loss to Manchester City at Goodison Park. Manager Willie Kirk had recruited heavily over the summer and built a squad many believed capable of breaking the stranglehold of the established top three of City, Chelsea and Arsenal, but the size of the gap was clear last Saturday.
There was some surprise as against the champions Kirk chose to stick with three Nathalie Bjorn, Gabby George and Megan Finnigan who had been brutally exposed the previous weekend. Everton’s backline was much more organized, however, with wing-backs Nicoline Sorensen and Danielle Turner signing up alongside the trio to work as fullback five as wave after wave of Chelsea attack swept through the center line.
With Bjorn perhaps identified as the weak link, Chelsea have repeatedly attacked down their left flank with European player of the year Pernille Harder and Norwegian striker Guro Reiten putting the pressure on.
It was on this side that Chelsea would make their way in the 25th minute. Midfielder Ji So-yun freed Kirby and the England striker rounded Bjorn before launching his effort at the far post, the ball taking the slightest deflection from Finnigan’s header on the way.
Much like last season, where Kirby and Kerr fought with Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema for the golden shoe, the fulcrum of good play forward from Chelsea was Danish striker Harder, who had as his mission to atone for the team’s performance against Arsenal.
In no time, the former Wolfsburg striker played freely in the middle only to find himself ousted before she could take her shot, slid the ball agonizingly along the goal and just off the far post, then exploded. the side net. It would be Kerr who would leap to extend the home side’s lead shortly after the break. Goalkeeper Sandy MacIver played the ball squarely to Finnigan inside the box and, with Kerr crouching, the center-back inexplicably played a slow return pass that Kerr intercepted and rolled into the empty net.
In the space of five minutes, Chelsea doubled their score. First Kerr’s powerful down header from a Reiten cross beat MacIver, then another Reiten cross found Erin Cuthbert, the Scottish striker crushed his strike against the bar and the newly introduced England pushed in. the rebound.
It was a deserved margin of victory, with Everton failing to trouble Chelsea’s defense with just five shots against Chelsea’s 27, with two and seven on target respectively.