Great Britain

Man United 1 Chelsea 6: Harder nets wonder goal as WSL champs brush Red Devils aside

PERNILLE HARDER provided the icing on the cake as pummelled Man United in a frenetic seven-goal thriller. 

A fabulous solo effort from the Denmark skipper was among the strikes that sealed an emphatic 6-1win for the Blues. 

And the match saw Fran Kirby reach a milestone of 50 goals in the WSL as the champs went third before their Women’s FA Cup quarters clash with Birmingham. 

Of Harder’s goal, Blues boss Emma Hayes said: “Pernille has come to preseason this year with an amazing attitude and an amazing approach and professionalism to her game. 

“She's finding brilliant spaces and she puts in unbelievable shifts for the team, in and out of possession, and that goal is her just reward. 

“For me, and this is the important message, the top players like her put in the most work for what they're doing and I'm so happy for her.” 

Chelsea shot out of the blocks at United’s Leigh Park Village home, almost stunning the hosts in the first minute. 

Last term’s Golden Boot winner Kerr whose prompted a fine one-handed save from Mary Earps early on

Any chance of respite from that scare evaporated in the second minute as the Australia ace pinched the ball to tee up Kirby for her goal and Chelsea’s opener. 

The hosts attempted to get on the attack in the 15th minute with Ona Batlle jetting past Niamh Charles and whipping in a threatening cross cleared by  Millie Bright. 

Just as the match was settling for United, the visitors stunned them once again with a superb effort from Pernille Harder minutes before the half-hour mark.  

The Denmark star picked up the ball near the halfway line before embarking on a mazy run and knocking the ball past Earps after evading Jackie Groenen and Maria Thorisdottir. 

The Blues continued to pile the pressure on their hosts with Kirby taking advantage of a misplaced pass as the hosts continued to play out from the back. 

The playmaker got possession before setup Kerr for her third league goal of the season minutes before half-time. 

The second spell saw Marc Skinner introduce Alessia Russo with the United substitute making an instant impact with her shot on goal deflected in the net off of Millie Bright. 

But the 3-1 lead lasted on three minutes with Kerr smashing in her second following a cross from Kirby 

And although the goal did look to be offside it was given. 

Chelsea made some substitutions with Jonna Andersson coming on for Niamh Charles and Jessie Fleming, Beth England and Jorja Fox replacing Harder, Kirby and Reiten. 

And Kerr would later go off with Drew Spence coming on with England setting up the Blues veteran to score Chelsea’s fifth goal minutes before the final whistle. 

Every club wants to be where Chelsea are, where they are consistently competing in the Champions League

Marc Skinner

Fleming was on-hand to nab Chelsea’s sixth rifling in a top corner shot to seal a comprehensive win for the league champs. 

Hayes added: Drew is playing for Jamaica now and her application, her dedication and her attitude is why for me, she has been an unbelievable servant to the club. 

She's here on merit because she is good enough to be here.

“With her ability in the last two counter-attacks, the speed at which she, Jessie Fleming and Beth England attack is because of the hard work they put in during training when nobody else is watching.”

Man United will be looking to bounce back with a result against Birmingham when they take on the Midlands outfit next. 

Red Devils boss Skinner said: “Every club wants to be where Chelsea are, where they are consistently competing in the Champions League. 

“What we have to do is make sure we understand what it is to be at that stage. And that's what we're going to work on. 

“You don't come against Sam Kerr, Fran Kerr and Pernille Harder every single week, so when do you test against that?

"I'm using this as fuel for my players to really drive forwards.”


Emma Hayes gets stuck into Chelsea training

Football news:

Graeme Souness: I agree with Klopp that Salah is the best player in the world right now
Javier Zanetti: Messi should take the Golden Ball. His performance is impressive, he also won the America's Cup
Miranchuk started the 7th match of Atalanta in a row in reserve
Rummenigge on Kimmich's position on vaccination: He has a responsible approach. But from the point of view of an example, it would be better for him to be vaccinated
Luis Suarez: Messi deserved the Golden Ball, he had a great year. I think Leo has no competitors
Rummenigge about Bavaria: We are among the top three clubs in Europe. Our football can be enjoyed
The Salah-Firmino-Mane trio is still powerful, but Jota is eager to take the Brazilian's place. What does each of the options give Liverpool?