It all started off so well. Tottenham Hotspur went to WSL co-league leaders Chelsea on Sunday trying to get a big win over a top four side to really establish themselves under new manager Rehanne Skinner. Spurs put two shots off the post and had Chelsea on their heels for the opening 25 minutes, but conceded two goals in two minutes against the run of play, and everything fell apart afterwards. Chelsea ran to a comfortable 4-0 win behind two goals from Melanie Leupolz, one from Sam Kerr, and an unfortunate own goal off Spurs debutant Abbie McManus.
Rehanne Skinner welcomed two new international stars on loan since Spurs’ last match, with England international defender McManus and South Korean midfielder Cho So-hyun joining the team. Skinner made five changes to the team that beat West Ham: Aurora Mikalsen makes her club debut in goal for the (presumably injured) Becky Spencer. McManus also makes her club debut, though Cho started the match on the bench. Jessica Naz started at the tip of the spear with Angela Addison and Kit Graham behind her.
KICK-OFF! Spurs come out with a 4-4-2ish lineup with Graham and Naz up top. McManus is starting as a CB beside Zadorsky, and Karys Harrop is pushed wide right. Alanna Kennedy captains the side with Green on the bench.
7’ — Chelsea’s Sam Kerr has had the first two shots of the match but has put them both wide, thankfully.
14’ — Good chance Spurs! After a free kick that resulted in a high shot from Zadorsky, Spurs force a turnover and Ria Percival has a shot that gets tipped off the bar by Berger. That was close!
18’ — Good shot from Graham! She gets a step of space in the box and fire a rocket at goal that forces a diving save from Berger. Spurs are taking the game straight at the league leaders.
26’ — Goal to Chelsea. Defender Leupolz with a 30 yard unmarked blast that takes a wicked swerve and past Mikalsen.
27’ — Oh no, another goal to Chelsea. A poor clearance from Mikalsen turns the ball over, and Harder’s shot is deflected off of McManus and in. That’s credited to Harder, but probably will end up an own goal. This is really harsh on Spurs. 2-0.
37’ — Goal to Chelsea. Sam Kerr finally gets one. Pernille Harder puts in a cross from the left, and nobody was marking Kerr. She was wide open at the back post and gets a free header past Mikalsen. 3-0. Ouch.
Halftime — This scoreline feels harsh. Chelsea are very good, but to play the way Spurs did in the opening 25 minutes and go down 3-0 is pretty brutal. The way back into this match feels almost impossible, unfortunately.
Spurs make a halftime sub, as Josie Green comes on for Kit Graham. Curious, but I wonder if it’s fitness related.
52’ — Harder with a blast off of a corner kick that’s deflected away by Percival’s face. Owwww.
56’ — Second sub for Spurs as Rosella Ayane comes on for Naz.
60’ — Double sub for Chelsea as Bethany England is on for Sam Kerr, while Fleming is on for Fran Kirby. That just feels cruel.
63’ — Penalty to Chelsea after Harrop handles the ball in the box, and Leupolz scores from the spot. 4-0 to Chelsea. Siiiiiiiiiiiigh.
69’ — Spurs just can’t get anything going in this half going forward. Chelsea with most of the ball, and the few periods of possession for Spurs aren’t amounting to much.
77’ — Double sub for Chelsea as Spence comes on for Harder and Ingle for Bright.
78’ — Lucy Quinn coming on for Spurs, she replaces Gemma Davison.
88’ — Spence with a powerful shot for Chelsea that flies just over the bar.
FULL TIME: Chelsea extend their WSL winning streak. It’s a comfortable win in the end, with the Blues taking it 4-0.
- Brutal. Spurs looked so good for the opening 20 minutes or so and were unlucky to not have gone ahead against Chelsea. But the Blues will just punish you for any mistake, and that’s exactly what they did.
- Those two early goals took the wind entirely out of Spurs’ sails. They backed off the high press and were never in it after that.
- Mikaelsen had a bad match in goal. Looked wrong-footed on Leupolz’s long goal and had a couple of terrible passes out of the back, one of which led to Chelsea’s second goal.
- Kit Graham was Spurs’ primary source of offense in this half, playing in the half-spaces behind Jessica Naz. She did well, but could only last a half. Fitness? Dunno.
- Losing to Chelsea is not at all unexpected — they’re undefeated in 33 WSL matches now and counting — but I can’t help but feel disappointed after the way this match started.
- No debut for Cho So-hyun, which maybe isn’t surprising as she just joined the club a couple of days ago.
- Spurs will hope to rebound next Saturday at relegation threatened Aston Villa. A good chance to pick up three points.