Defending champions Chelsea moved to the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League thanks to a ruthless display in front of goal in their 9-0 demolition of second-from-bottom Leicester City.
Bethany England, Guro Reiten and Sam Kerr all struck twice at the King Power Stadium, where four goals in the first 11 minutes set the Blues on their way to going one point clear of Arsenal, becoming league leaders for the first time this season.
It was a devastating start from Chelsea, as they went ahead in the third minute when Reiten bent in a beauty of a free kick from just outside the area.
It was quickly 2-0 when a superb pass by Mille Bright put Kerr in the clear and although her first effort was well saved by Demi Lambourne, the Australian calmly rolled in the rebound.
England then made it three in the seventh minute with a thumping finish before Aniek Nouwen was on hand to divert England’s effort into the net from close range.
England then scored her second and Chelsea’s fifth before half an hour had been played, nodding in Reiten’s pinpoint cross, before Reiten herself doubled up just before half time when her mishit cross drifted into the net.
Kerr struck again two minutes into the second half with a perfectly-placed header from England’s cross before Lauren James got in on the act by scoring from Niamh Charles’ cut-back after 88 minutes.
There was still time for a ninth for the Blues as a flowing move involving James and Drew Spence led to Jessie Fleming finishing crisply into the bottom corner.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: “We were clinical, especially in the first half. We scored with every chance we created.
“I thought our execution and game plan was first class, I thought everybody had a good game, including those from the bench.
“Sometimes with these types of opponents, whether you take a lead or not, you struggle to break them down, but we did that with perfection today.
“Things that we’ve been working on came out in the performance, but we’ve got depth and I think that’s the difference because depth drives up standards in training.
“I’ve made no secret of the time we’ve taken to get Lauren [James] in that place.
“There’s a reason for it and perfect timing for her to get her first goal and I thought it was a superb cameo from her when she came into the game.
“She’s 100 per cent fit, but she doesn’t have the match minutes and doesn’t have a pre-season behind her.”
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