City's title challenge is over after mauling by ruthless Chelsea

Manchester City 0-4 Chelsea: Hosts’ terrible start to the season continues as Emma Hayes’ side move to within a point of WSL leaders Arsenal after win

  • Gareth Taylor’s team have already lost four league games this season 
  • They fell behind in 67 seconds in as Karima Taieb’s poor kick was pounced on 
  • Sam Kerr’s strike saw the Blues double their lead just before half-time 
  • The visitors continued to ooze confidence as Fran Kirby made it three
  • And Magdalena Eriksson rounded off a fine win with a 55th-minute header
  • WSL champions Chelsea now sit just one point behind leaders Arsenal 

There was a sense of deja vu about Chelsea’s 4-0 victory over Manchester City at the Academy Stadium yesterday.

Goalkeeping errors and missed chances cost Gareth Taylor’s side when they were beaten 3-0 by the Blues in the FA Cup semi-final two weeks ago. 

And it was the same painful story for the City boss all over again as they suffered their fourth league defeat of the season.

Chelsea were ruthless as they put Manchester City to the sword again after their FA Cup win

Gareth Taylor’s side can forget about a WSL title challenge after another poor performance

Any faint hopes of a title challenge are over and their focus must turn to securing the final Champions League place.

It is now 12 goals conceded and none scored in games against Chelsea and Arsenal this season. Taylor is under pressure, but is adamant he will fight on.

‘There’s nothing for me to consider,’ he said when asked about his future. ‘Until I’m told anything different, I carry on and I work as hard as I’ve ever done.

‘Of course, we need to be better in the errors that we make, but as long as I can see the positives, even when we are really short of a number of key players in the playing squad, nothing changes in my mind. 

‘I don’t think the tactics are to blame at all. I’ve not really harped on about the injuries – the injuries are a fact. I still believe in this group of players.’

Chelsea, meanwhile, are now just a point behind leaders Arsenal. This was their first ever league win at the Academy Stadium and Emma Hayes’ fifth victory over Taylor. 

‘I thought we were poor in the first half, in the way we pressed. I thought we really struggled,’ Hayes aid. 

‘The second half, I thought the first 25 minutes we were immense, we played like champions in the second half.

‘What I know about winning titles, is that what we did here today, without us being at our best out of possession, that ability to suffer, the ability to stay in the game, we go 1-0 up, world class goalkeeping down the other end – that is why our team is one of the best teams.’

Jessie Fleming took advantage of poor goalkeeping to put the visitors ahead barely a minute in

Caroline Weir had her shot kept out by Ann-Katrin Berger as City pushed for an equaliser

But the hosts were undone just before the break as Sam Kerr got her sixth league goal this term


MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Taieb 6; Stanway 5, Scott 5, Greenwood 6, Stokes 6; Walsh 6, Angeldahl 5 (Coombs 69, 6), Weir 6 (Losada 77, 6); Park 5 (Beckie 69, 6), Hemp 6.5 (Raso 80, 6), White 5.

Subs not used: Pilling, Mace, Kennedy.

Booked: Greenwood

Manager: Gareth Taylor 5

CHELSEA (3-4-3): Berger 6 (Musovic 77, 6); Carter 6, Bright 6, Eriksson 6.5; Reiten 6.5 (Spence 77, 6), Cuthbert 6.5, Ji 6 (Ingle 45, 6), Leupolz 6; Fleming 6.5, Kirby 7 (Charles 77, 6), Kerr 6.5 (England 67, 6).

Subs not used: Mjelde, James, Andersson, Fox.

Goals: Fleming 2, Kerr 45+4, Kirby 52, Eriksson 55

Booked: None

Manager: Emma Hayes 6.5

Referee: Rebecca Welch 6 


For all their injury problems, City are still able to field a team full of international players. Taylor’s biggest issue is the goalkeeping situation. 

No 1 Ellie Roebuck is expected back at the end of the month while second choice Karen Bardsley is out for the foreseeable.

Karima Taieb is the only senior goalkeeper available – but she is prone to errors. She was at fault for two goals in the FA Cup defeat a fortnight ago and the 36-year-old got off to a nightmare start here as she carelessly gifted the Blues the opener after just 67 seconds. 

Her attempted pass to Alex Greenwood went straight into the path of Jessie Fleming, who took two touches to go around her before finishing into an empty net.

Caroline Weir had the chance to equalise seven minutes later when she was played in by Keira Walsh, but the midfielder’s effort was saved by the leg of Chelsea ‘keeper Ann-Katrin Berger. 

That miss proved crucial as Chelsea grabbed a second just before half-time. Georgia Stanway was caught in possession by Fran Kirby and played in Ji So-Yun down the right. 

Fran Kirby (centre) put the result beyond doubt with a curling effort into the top left corner

And captain Magdalena Eriksson put the icing on the cake for Emma Hayes’ team with a header

Chelsea were on the front foot immediately at the start of the second half and it wasn’t long before they scored a third. 

City failed to deal with a short corner and the ball eventually dropped to Kirby, who curled a finish into the top left corner. 

Three minutes later it was four. Taieb was at fault again as she flapped at Erin Cuthbert’s in-swinging corner from the left, allowing Chelsea captain Magdelana Eriksson to nod in at the far post. 

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