A moment of sheer brilliance from Sam Kerr was enough to ensure Chelsea returned to the top of the Women’s Super League with a 1-0 win over Manchester United.
Kerr had been involved in eight goals in her five WSL appearances against Man United prior to this contest and she started this one looking to continue that streak – in which see duly obliged.
Her audacious lobbed finish, which was set up by a superb pass and assist from Lauren James, was the only goal of the game in what was a typical tight and cagey top-of-the-table clash.
Big players decide big games and that was the case in Surrey on Sunday lunchtime. The Blues are now 13 games unbeaten in the WSL since the opening day trip to Liverpool, and moved above the visitors who started the day a point clear of Emma Hayes’s side.
It was United who had the most of the ball in the opening exchanges but twice Sam Kerr found herself in a very dangerous positions early on, with signs of what was to come evident from the early exchanges.
The pick of the early chances came the Australian's way, as she was sent through on goal by Jessie Fleming just 12 minutes in, with just the goalkeeper to beat, but Mary Earps was equal to it.
Kerr got another chance in the 63rd minute, receiving the ball after a misplaced Katie Zelem pass, but Millie Turner got across to block her shot behind for a corner.
Chelsea stifled our visitors and limited them to very little. The closest United came in the opening 45 minutes was from Alessia Russo who stung the palms of Berger in our net, but her shot was directly at the German.
The game became end-to-end in the second period, although a second goal did become seemingly unlikely as the game wore on, with the Blues managing the game in ways they so often do: intelligently, expertly and cleverly.
Zelem curled in a free-kick with 12 minutes to play and tested Berger once again, but our shot-stopper was equal to it.
Seconds later, Chelsea went up the other end and had a huge chance to seal it once and for all. Le Tissier’s half clearance fell the way of Melanie Leupolz, but the midfielder blazed over from 18-yards.
As United pushed for a leveller, there were inevitably going to be chances on the break and after Kerr latched onto Ingle’s pass, beating Le Tissier to it in the process, there looked to be a huge chance of a second, but the striker could not muster a shot.
Both teams had scored in each of the last five WSL games between Chelsea and Man Utd before this one, but a strong showing and clean sheet from Ann-Katrin Berger ensured we kept the visitors at bay, in what was a performance of champions!
Emma Hayes made four changes to the side that beat Brighton in midweek.
Goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger, Eve Perisset, Lauren James and Sophie Ingle all returned with Zecira Musovic, Maren Mjelde, Jelena Cankovic and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd all dropping to the bench.
Erin Cuthbert was absent from the matchday squad, as was Guro Reiten – although that was expected.
We are in FA Cup action next for another massive game in the quarter-finals, as we visit Reading at 2pm on Sunday 19 March.
Chelsea: Berger; Perisset, Buchanan, Bright, Carter, Charles (Mjelde 90+1'); Ingle, Leupolz; Fleming (Eriksson 75'), James (Ryttting Kaneryd 61’), Kerr
Unused subs: Musovic, Abdullina, Cankovic
Manchester United: Earps, Batlle, Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell, Ladd (Garcia 90'), Zelem, Parris (Mannion 82’), Toone (Williams 72’), Galton (Thomas 71’), Russo
Unused subs: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Boe Risa, Cascarino, Naalsund
Scorer: Kerr (23’)
Booked: Leupolz (34’)
Referee: Cheryl Foster