Chelsea Ladies put together another classy performance as they beat the once-mighty Liverpool 1-0 this weekend. The scoreline was unflattering, but it was certainly an eye-opening performance. Here’s what we learned…
1: Maren Mjelde is scarily good – and getting better
Midfielder Maren Mjelde was easily one of the league’s top players during Spring Series, showing an ability to play on both sides of the ball with a level of class that so few possess. After a summer wasting away at centre back with Norway at the Euros, Mjelde has returned to the Blues with a point to prove. She has three goals in the first three league matches, already bettering her Spring Series total of two. And if she continues to add Lampard-esque late runs and clinical finishing to her game, this could be a very special season for the Norwegian.
2: The goalkeeper situation is still very confusing
As if having three top goalkeepers at the same club wasn’t strange enough, things got even weirder on Saturday. Based purely on experience, you would have to put Hedvig Lindahl and Carly Telford well ahead of Becky Spencer – even if the latter has been nothing but impressive during her time at Chelsea. Telford may be ahead of Spencer in the England hierarchy, but it was Spencer who started ahead of her senior against Liverpool. She had little to do but remained alert and played her part in the team’s seventh consecutive clean sheet. Rotation will play a big part of Chelsea’s campaign, but playing without a clear #1 is surely a step too far for Emma Hayes – right?
3: 2015 Gemma Davison is alive and well
After setting the league alight in her first year with the Blues in 2015, things haven’t been going great for Gemma Davison. But the time she spent struggling for form in 2016 and during the Spring Series has already been forgotten after sublime performances in all of her starts so far this year. And her contribution goes beyond the two goals and two assists she’s chalked up so far; the sublime control, creativity, and trickery that we became accustomed to seeing in 2015 is well and truly back.
4: There’s no such thing as a weak Chelsea team
We’re only four games into the season, but already Chelsea have started 17 different players, and have shared out the minutes relatively evenly between these players (and Eni Aluko, who’s come off the bench in every match) – and yet the team have started perfectly, winning four and conceding none, including a historic Champions League victory over Bayern Munich. No matter who Chelsea start with, they perform cohesively and at a very high standard. “Opposition manager makes six changes” is usually a comfort to a team, but if your team is playing Chelsea, it’s really not of note; whoever starts, you have a very tough game on the cards.