Goalscorer Sam Kerr was proud of the chances Chelsea Women created at Manchester United on Sunday as our Women’s Super League defence started with a draw.
Just as she did during Chelsea’s Community Shield victory over the blue side of Manchester last weekend at Wembley, our January signing regularly got herself into great shooting positions in Leigh; and this time, she found the back of the net. Midway through the first half, Kerr opened our account for the new league campaign with a clinical finish from close range, setting up what she felt would have been a deserved win.
‘I think any striker after the game is going to look back at the chances they missed rather than the ones they scored,’ Kerr commented afterwards, ‘especially when it ends in a draw in a game that we created enough chances to win. We had a lot of chances, so I think we deserved to probably get more out of that, but we need to take our chances.’
Chelsea could – maybe should – have scored more goals in a highly productive early period, with Kerr and a recovered Fran Kirby combining excellently while Mary Earps, in between the posts, kept the home team in the game. The Red Devils, however, beginning only their second season in the top flight, dropped deep and dug deeper, and Leah Galton managed a tap-in to steal a point with 10 minutes remaining.
Nevertheless, the instant connection between our strikers was one of the standout positives from a Chelsea perspective. Kirby, who was making her first start in the league since we came up against United last November, slipped a perfect pass through to her new attacking partner that produced Kerr’s goal, capping off the quickfire link-up play between the two forwards.
Asked about finally getting to work with Kirby following the No.14s illness, Kerr replied: ‘She’s pretty easy to play with. She is who she is – she’s a superstar. I’ve really enjoyed playing with her. I didn’t get the chance last year, so I want to keep building our partnership.’
With competition ramping up year on year in the WSL, the Blues will be keen to rediscover the formidable strike that averaged more than three goals per game in 2019/20, which ended with us being awarded the division’s trophy on points per game system. After our main title rivals Man City and Arsenal got off to winning starts, Kerr knows there is no time to lose.
‘It’s always the mentality that you can’t afford to drop many points, but the league is getting stronger and stronger. Each team is getting stronger and stronger, so we’re just focusing on ourselves and taking each game at a time,’ the Australian explained.
That said, there is plenty of football left to be played, and the experienced Australia captain knows that the most important thing now is to acknowledge the disappointment after dropping points, then look ahead of the sea of WSL fixtures approaching.
‘Yeah, I mean, we’re obviously disappointed,’ she admitted. ‘We came here with the intention of winning, but it isn’t the end of the world. It’s a long season, and we’ll regroup and be ready for next week.’
This weekend brings our first home game of the campaign against Bristol City. Of course, our first outing at Kingsmeadow since February will unfortunately be played behind closed doors, but you can watch it live via the BBC Red Button on Sunday at 12.30pm.