Chelsea 5-0 Birmingham City: Backheel Brilliance and Captain Comebacks

The defending Champions cruised in the Semi-Finals of the Women’s FA Cup with a convincing victory at Kingsmeadow. A somewhat frustrating first-half was followed by a brilliant second-half as Emma Hayes’s side turned on the style as it finished Chelsea 5-0 Birmingham City. 

Team News

After the midweek triumph over Everton, Emma Hayes made 6 changes, lining up again in the 3-4-3 formation. Ann-Katrin Berger replaced Musovic in goal. Jess Carter and Millie Bright were rejoined at the back by club skipper Magda Eriksson, returning from injury. Niamh Charles and Jonna Andersson started at wingback with Drew Spence coming in to join Sophie Ingle. 

Ji So-Yun, Bethany England and Jessie Fleming made up a new-look front 3 for the Blues, who were again without Pernille Harder, and Fran Kirby, but did name options like Sam Kerr, Guro Reiten and Lauren James on the bench. 

First Half

Although Birmingham’s dogged shape offered some resistance, the Blues spurned several glorious early chances. Bethany England did get in behind the Brum backline but her cross-shot was somehow prodded wide by Ji, despite the open goal. 

It would prove to be the catalyst for a frustrating half for the home side who dominated possession without really testing former-Blue Marie Hourihan in the Birmingham net. However, the control over possession did tell right on the stroke of half-time. 

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A deep free kick was nodded back into the danger area by Beth England and then flicked on by Drew Spence. It landed perfectly for Magda Eriksson at the back-post and the captain’s diving header opened the scoring. Not a bad way to announce your return!

This goal completely changed the team-talks on both sides. 

Second Half

Emma Hayes’s side came out with intensity not seen in the first half and killed the tie on the 55th minute. A long throw was collected by Jessie Fleming who drove forward and found Niamh Charles. The English wingback’s lay-off to Drew Spence was perfect for the Jamaican international sweep home into the corner. 

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This kickstarted a 17 minute blitz as the Blues ran riot. On the 62nd minute, a pinpoint pass from Ji released Spence again. With Houriham committed, she was powerless to stop Spence’s brilliant backhell which gifted England a simple sweep into the net. 

3 minutes later and England turned provider this time. Her knock from a corner floated the ball back up for Niamh Charles’s own header to power home a 4th. A raft of Blues changes saw minutes for Alsu Abdullina, Maren Mjelde and Lauren James. 

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Abdullina grabbed her first Blues assist on the 72nd minute, playing in Beth England. From the edge of the box, she arrowed an excellent finish in the far corner. Jonna Andersson had the final home chance as her downward header clipped the bar, but Chelsea 5-0 Birmingham City was still a worthy result.

Full Time: Chelsea 5-0 Birmingham City

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Final Thoughts: Chelsea 5-0 Birmingham City

A Blues cruise puts Emma Hayes side into the semi-finals again. It’s another showdown with London and WSL rivals Arsenal for a place in May’s final. In truth, Chelsea were comfortable throughout and it was always going to be a question of how many, rather than if, they progressed.  

It’s the big WSL game this Wednesday: Spurs at Kingsmeadow. Win and we go top.

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