Dominant Chelsea put six past woeful Aston Villa away from home

Chelsea were able to capitalise on a poor defensive performance by Aston Villa to win 6-0 at the Bescott Stadium and continue their undefeated run in the Women’s Super League (WSL).

After the game it was announced that Chelsea manager Emma Hayes would be leaving the club at the end of the season, after 12 years at the club, to pursue a new challenge.

Hayes made five changes to the side that beat Brighton 4-2 in the WSL in October, with talisman, Sam Kerr, dropping to the bench.

Aston Villa started the game looking the most threatening but Chelsea were quickly able to assert their authority over the game. An early Johanna Rytting Kaneryd attempt was cleared off the line, and a Fran Kirby effort from outside of the box rattled the crossbar.

The deadlock was soon broken by Chelsea in the 22nd minute, as captain Millie Bright was able to pounce on a poor clearance by Villa after a corner, and slotted the ball in the bottom-right corner. The goal came on the Chelsea skipper’s 250th appearance for the club.

Bright’s goal marked a turning point in the game, as Villa struggled to cope with The Blues’ intense press, often finding themselves trapped in their own half.

Chelsea’s second would come as a result of Villa’s inability to deal with a Kaneryd cross which eventually found Kirby, who placed the ball in the bottom corner from a couple of yards out.

The Blue’s continued to threaten the Villain’s goal, ending the half with 20 shots, the most by any WSL side this season.

Home fans would have hoped that the halftime pause would allow Aston Villa to regroup and establish a foothold in the game but the Chelsea barrage continued after play resumed.

The most impressive goal of the game came from Kaneryd, who was able to snatch the ball away from Villa’s defense on the halfway line and drive towards the right side of the opponents’ box, before rifling the ball into the far side of the goal.

A key tackle by Erin Cuthbert in the opponent’s half would culminate in a Jessie Flemming cross being directed into the Villa net by Ashely Lawrence, making it 4-0 to the visitors.

Further defensive woes for Villa allowed Agnes Beever-Jones and Niamh Charles to make it 6-0, with both finding the net with little resistance from Aston Villa defenders.

Villa were able to counter on a few occasions in the second half, but their lack of attacking bight meant they never troubled Chelsea keeper, Ann Katrin Berger.

The victory sent Chelsea to the top of the WSL, although a Manchester City victory on Sunday would see them drop to second. The result also means Aston Villa drop to the foot of the table.

Chelsea’s celebrations were dampened when, after the game, the club announced Hayes would be stepping down from her role as Chelsea manager at the end of the season.

In a post on Chelsea’s website, the co-sporting directors, Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley, said: “Given everything [Hayes] has contributed to Chelsea in over a decade with the club, and the legacy she leaves behind, we would never stand in her way when she felt it was time to pursue a new challenge.”

The club also announced that they will use the remainder of the season to find Hayes’ successor.

Chelsea will travel to Everton next Sunday to continue their defence of the WSL.

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