Chelsea’s Sam Kerr breaks Aston Villa at the last to boost WSL title tilt

In a week laced with drama and turmoil off the pitch, Chelsea were able to do what they needed to in their pursuit of Arsenal, thanks to a 92nd-minute goal from the talismanic Sam Kerr.

Zecira Musovic in Chelsea’s goal took a long clearance towards the Villa penalty area and the Australian thumped the ball in, snuffing out both Arsenal and Aston Villa’s hopes for the game with one, reactive shot at goal.

まだ, with the men’s team facing considerable changes as a result of the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich, it has been an intense week for all involved. Emma Hayes’ spoke at length on the topic and on the impact of the game in her post-match press conference: “I felt a release in my own emotion. I nearly lifted Sam Kerr up, I’m human and it’s been hard. We need to lean on each other and we did.”

More specifically on the situation at Chelsea, 彼女は言いました: “I’ve been switched off from the media this week, I know our place in this club, our importance. I don’t want anyone to be vilified, at the end or the day this club is important to the community. Hopefully we can get a sale and get things moving.”

Villa, who are winless and goalless since the international break, faced misery at Kingsmeadow, in the face of a rotated and yet still powerful attack, led by Kerr and Guro Reiten. The pair linked up seamlessly from the Chelsea left; Reiten had a deflected shot caught by Hannah Hampton and then moments later delivered a cross that Kerr could only head straight into the hands of the keeper.

Hayes looked to ramp up the pressure in the Villa box, bringing on Sophie Ingle at half time then Erin Cuthbert and Jessie Fleming in the 66th minute – changes that emphasised the need for a faster, more effective attack. When asked about her tactical decisions, Hayes said: “We changed shape three or four times in the game, I just wanted to try different things to see what would work. Erin Cuthbert and Jessie Fleming hadn’t even trained.”

Yet it was those changes that brought a renewed charge; Hampton parried a shot into the path of an incoming Reiten and her effort trickled wide by inches, as did Ingle’s volley seconds later.

With each shot at Hampton’s goal, the absence of Kirby and Harder became more apparent. Kerr had a goal ruled out for offside. Yet when things seemed as if they were petering out, it was Kerr again who shook off her earlier frustrations and took a shot to which this time neither Hampton nor the referee, Abigail Byrne, had an answer.

Carla Ward’s Aston Villa team could do nothing more than drink in the “spirits and camaraderie” of what, on their part at least, had been a valiant defensive performance up until the 92nd minute.

With three points now in the bag for the hosts, all eyes turned to Jonas Eidevall’s league leaders later this evening, Arsenal travelling to Brighton. チェルシー, その間, travel to Everton on Wednesday evening in yet another quick turnaround in fixtures.

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