Chelsea go top of WSL with Spurs win as Kerr shines at packed Stamford Bridge | Women’s Super League

With a chance to go top of the Women’s Super League table for the first time this season following Manchester United’s 3-2 defeat of Arsenal, Emma Hayes back in the dugout, and Stamford Bridge bouncing, it has been a good weekend for Chelsea. And a comfortable 3-0 defeat of Tottenham ensured the team leapfrogged United and Arsenal, which was the cherry on top.

Since a shock opening-day defeat against Liverpool, Chelsea have cruised to the summit and, while performances have not quite had last year’s swagger, they have been brutally efficient. It was no different at Stamford Bridge, which was scheduled to host the sellout opening game of the season against West Ham before that match was postponed following the death of the Queen and tickets transferred to this fixture.

Hayes said she would “like to be here more” and that the “audiences are here for maybe eight to 12 games a year” when asked about bringing her team back to Stamford Bridge. “We all know that [there is a] conundrum in the women’s game around what we do,” she said. “From small stadia, is there a medium-term plan to go to medium-size stadiums before eventually everyone comes home to the large stadium? I don’t know, but I’m absolutely certain we’re all outgrowing our small stadiums. The players want to play here more but I really believe we have to increase the overall pricing structure if we’re to play more in these places, because there is a cost implication to it.”

The visiting north London side, contending with a number of injuries, began more brightly but it took just 12 minutes for Chelsea to quash hopes of an upset. The centre-back Millie Bright, deep in her own half, lofted the ball towards Sam Kerr and the dynamic Australian forward shrugged off the challenge of Shelina Zadorsky before firing coolly past Tinja-Riikka Korpela.

It was a welcome sight for Hayes, who was glued to the edge of her technical area for the duration having missed Chelsea’s preceding six games in all competitions while she recovered from an emergency hysterectomy after a long battle with endometriosis.

“First half I felt fine, second half my back was killing me, when it got cold, but I feel like I hadn’t been away,” Hayes said. “Someone asked me earlier how many games of football I’ve coached in my career and I couldn’t tell you, but it’d be over 1,000 I suspect. It just felt like I was going back out to my family and I felt like a spectator for the most part and just gave little bits of information as and when necessary. I really enjoyed it.”

Chelsea had won five games in succession against their London rivals before their trip to Stamford Bridge and outscored them 12 to two. That balance looked unlikely to shift: Spurs have struggled for consistency and they are lacking an out and out striker with Kit Graham injured. Instead, partnering Jess Naz up top was the former Chelsea defensive midfielder Drew Spence who, alongside Ash Neville, is Tottenham’s joint top scorer with three goals.

“In terms of the squad depth, some of the challenges we’ve faced over the course of this season is creating a few issues with how many options we’ve got in and around the squad,” the Spurs manager, Rehanne Skinner, said. “Overall, every transfer window we’ve just got to keep evolving the squad so we’re in a more consistent position to compete with these teams and take chances when we get them.”

Chelsea’s second was as stylish as the first, with the ball dropping to Erin Cuthbert on the end of the area and the Scot sending a looping strike dipping down under the crossbar and in.

Less than 10 minutes later the home team had a third, with Guro Reiten stepping up to convert from the spot after Neville clipped the heel of the majestic Lauren James in the box. Chelsea continued their dominance in the second half but struggled to break through the renewed resilience of the Tottenham back line.

Chelsea move three points clear, albeit having played a game more, while Spurs are back to the drawing board having failed again to string together two consecutive league wins this season.

Khadija Shaw at the double as Manchester City blow away Tottenham | Women’s Super League

Khadija Shaw’s brace and another goal from Lauren Hemp helped Manchester City make it back-to-back wins in the Women’s Super League with a 3-0 victory at Tottenham. Gareth Taylor’s side had started the new campaign with consecutive defeats but followed up last weekend’s dismantling of Leicester with a clinical display in the capital.

Shaw struck either side of half-time at Brisbane Road to take her tally for the season to seven before Hemp grabbed a late third on a difficult day for Spurs, who saw Ellie Brazil leave the pitch on a stretcher. Tottenham and City had fought close battles during their WSL fixtures last season but the start of this clash was overshadowed when Brazil suffered a potentially serious injury in the third minute.

Brazil, a summer signing for Spurs, impressively closed down the visiting goalkeeper, Ellie Roebuck, but injured herself in the process of blocking the clearance. Brazil’s left leg had to be put in a brace and she eventually went off to warm applause following a lengthy delay.

City were able to settle better after the restart with Esme Morgan and Hemp, one of several Lionesses in the away lineup, sending efforts wide before Deyna Castellanos tested Rebecca Spencer in the home goal in the 25th minute. Spencer saved well from Castellanos and was equal to Yui Hasegawa’s long-rang shot after 40 minutes, too, but from the resulting corner Taylor’s side took the lead.

Alex Greenwood produced a pinpoint delivery into the area which Shaw met on the run, sending a well-timed header into the bottom corner. Tottenham responded to the opener with their first shot of note but Ashleigh Neville sliced over at the back post following Angharad James’s cross to ensure it remained 1-0 at the break.

City had enjoyed more than 70 per cent possession during the opening 45 minutes and were able to make their dominance count at the start of the second period. James was dispossessed inside her own half and Hemp passed to Shaw, who took her shot early and drilled into the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Lauren Hemp points to the sky after making it 3-0
Lauren Hemp points to the sky after making it 3-0. Photograph: Manchester City FC/Getty Images

The City forward wheeled away in celebration and almost had her hat-trick on the hour mark but Molly Bartrip made a timely interception from Kerstin Casparij’s cutback. In between Shaw had taken a ball to the face from close range, but was able to carry on.

Chloe Kelly, wearing a white headband, looked to get in on the act soon after and saw a 20-yard effort deflected over by Asmita Ale. Shaw squandered another opportunity with 21 minutes left when she scuffed wide from Laura Coombs’ pass and it briefly lifted the hosts.

Eveliina Summanen produced a dangerous cross before Drew Spence curled over but City provided the sucker punch in the 76th minute.

Coombs found Hemp, who turned Amy Turner inside out before the England ace arrowed a left-footed shot in off the post to wrap up the scoring with her third goal of the season.