Captain Magdalena Eriksson was on the scoresheet in Chelsea FC Women’s 4-1 win over Arsenal in the Continental League Cup, but it was the overall team performance that gave the centre-back more pleasure than any individual plaudits.
The Blues skipper scored our opening goal in our first fixture of the League Cup at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday night. Maria Thorisdottir – who made her first start this season – whipped in a perfect corner for Eriksson to head home.The Gunners pulled one back two minutes later when Caitlin Foord fired one in from 25 yards out, but Chelsea were 3-1 up by half-time courtesy of a Guro Reiten brace. Bethany England rounded off the scoring in the final seconds of the contest when she stormed in on goal and powered in her 50th Chelsea goal.Eriksson took plenty of positives out of an impressive evening’s work and our captain shared her thoughts on the overall match.
‘I think we have found a recipe of being together as a team, pressing together, being aggressive and doing everything together as a team,’ she said.‘We started the game really well, we put them on the backfoot. We were aggressive in our press and we turned them over a couple of times. That’s how we wanted to play and that’s how we wanted the game plan to be so that was nice.‘They got an early goal back but it didn’t affect us, we just kept going and then we got the second and the third which was really nice as well. It was a great team effort, we all put a good shift in.‘We had a couple of new players starting and they did an amazing job coming into the team and just raising the levels.'Thorisdottir was not the only Chelsea player to make her first start this term, as youngster Niamh Charles who joined the club in the summer, was rewarded for all her hard work by being given her full Chelsea debut.‘I really enjoyed watching her during pre-season, she’s put in a great shift and she’s worked really hard to get to this point,’ Eriksson said about Charles.‘She was deserving of her start, you can see the talent she has, she’s really cool because she plays with no fear, which I really like – I’m really happy for her that she got her debut start and that she did so well as well.’
Although the Blues have now defeated the London side on six successive occasions, the 27-year-old insists the Gunners remain one of our rivals, but takes this victory as a positive indication of the team’s progression.‘Yes of course they are, I think they will be that for a really long time,’ Eriksson replied when being asked about the rivalry between the two sides. ‘They are really strong, they play really good football and they make it hard for us sometimes.‘Like I said before we have found a recipe that’s working, but of course it’s all about staying humble because they are our rivals and they are a great team.‘We just have to keep working really hard and this was nice confirmation that we’re on a great path and that we’re doing something great, but we’re not going to take our foot off the gas, we’re going to keep going and improving as a team.'
Chelsea’s next test is a blockbuster match at home on Sunday against our other rivals Manchester City. Since joining in 2017 Eriksson has played in all 11 encounters against City and the experienced player knows the significance of this fixture and how it could play a big part in our quest of retaining the Women’s Super League title.‘It is a massive game and we are used to being in those occasions, we know the importance of the game and we don’t have to amplify that, we just have to stick to our process and focus on ourselves.‘Man City have come out really strong, they’re looking good, they have some really big signings so it will be a good fight out on the pitch I believe.’Chelsea vs Manchester City kicks off at 2.30pm on Sunday and can be watched live on BT Sport.