Chelsea 7-0 Leicester City: Seventh Cup Heaven

A terrific sixty-five-minute blitz saw the Blues advance to the Women’s FA Cup Quarter Finals. Looking to defend their title, Emma Hayes’s team took advantage of a controversial red card to put the Foxes to the sword as it ended Chelsea 7-0 Leicester City.

Team News

After an intense stalemate with Arsenal in the previous match, Emma Hayes made a number of changes to line up in a 4-4-2. Ann-Katrin Berger surprisingly got the nod in goal, behind Niamh Charles, Jonna Andersson, Aniek Nouwen and captain Millie Bright. Lauren James and Pernille Harder took wide midfield roles, with Sophie Ingle and Ji So-Yun in the centre. Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby were up top. 

First Half

Leicester caused problems for Chelsea during the league meeting at Kingsmeadow and again, Emma Hayes’s side struggled to break down the initial high press. Berger made several good saves and Nouwen also cleared off the line. 

The game changed completely on the 17th minute, however. Sophie Howard’s challenge on Jonna Andersson was harshly judged by referee Emily Heaslip to be out of control. The red card badly affected the Leicester shape, and Chelsea took advantage. 24 minutes in, Sophie Ingle’s precise pass freed up Pernille Harder and the Dane finished well across goal. 

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The game was decided on the 36th minute. Jonna Andersson’s curled pass in behind released Sam Kerr and her rolled ball across the box gifted Harder a simple tap-in. 

Half-time and the 2-0 lead did somewhat flatter Emma Hayes’s side. 

Second Half

Ingle was replaced by Drew Spence at half-time. With two goals, Pernille Harder picked up an assist on the 60th minute. She held off a Leicester challenge to release Sam Kerr and she poked a neat finish home. Ji got the pick of the goals five minutes later. Again Harder was involved, nodding a corner down to the South Korean. She impudently chipped into the far top-corner with Demi Lambourne helpless. 

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Jessie Fleming replaced Lauren James, Alsu Abdullina came on for Jonna Andersson and Beth England replaced Fran Kirby. Harder grabbed her hat-trick of assists on the 79th minute as the Blues pressed home the player advantage. A deep cross from Millie Bright was headed back by the Dane and Aniek Nouwen powered home her first Blues goal with a close-range header. 

Sam Kerr clipped home an 82nd minute finish from Fleming’s precise low-ball to make it 6, and Beth England completed the scoring on the 85th. Her downward header from Kerr’s chipped cross made it Chelsea 7-0 Leicester City. 

Full Time: Chelsea 7-0 Leicester City

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Final Thoughts: Chelsea 7-0 Leicester City

A huge win for Chelsea which doesn’t belie how tough the opening 20 minutes were. Once the Blues did get in front, Emma Hayes’s side really put the foot on the accelerator and punished their less experienced and tired opponents. 

They’ll face Birmingham City again at Kingsmeadow in the Quarter Final, but for now, attention turns to next weekend’s Continental Cup Final against Manchester City.

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