Chelsea beat Everton to close on leaders

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Guro Reiten, Chelsea, Everton
Guro Reiten doubled Chelsea’s lead after just 15 minutes against Everton

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said it felt like “business as usual” again after ending a difficult seven days for the club with an emphatic win at Everton in the Women’s Super League.

The victory saw the Blues cut Arsenal’s lead at the top to two points – with a game in hand over the Gunners.

Sam Kerr’s glancing header and Guro Reiten’s thumping finish gave the visitors an early two-goal cushion.

Erin Cuthbert found the top corner to make it 3-0 before the half-hour mark.

Hayes said her side had found it difficult to focus last week following the news that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had been sanctioned by the UK government.

The Blues beat West Ham 4-1 on Thursday hours after the announcement, before leaving it late on Sunday to secure victory over Aston Villa.

“It’s been easier this week,” she said. “I think initially it was difficult. That first game on the Thursday was really, really tough.

“Emotionally it affected us on Sunday, today just feels like business as usual.”

‘Important to see others score’

Hayes said her side had been “dynamic” in the first half, capped off with two quality goals from distance from Reiten and Cuthbert which she said “we haven’t had in a while”.

“They’re capable of that. This second half of the season I’ve been demanding more from players in terms of chipping in for goals.

“It’s important – we can’t leave that all for Sam [Kerr].”

Niamh Charles could have added further gloss to the visitors’ scoreline in a one-sided first half but headed Pernille Harder’s cross into the side-netting.

Their chances dried up after the restart, which was delayed nearly 15 minutes because of an injury to referee James Bell.

But Everton – who had won their last two league fixtures prior to Wednesday – rarely threatened to forge an unlikely route back into the game.

The Toffees have now failed to score in each of their last eight league matches against the Blues – a record for a single side against another in the WSL.

Chelsea could leapfrog Arsenal at the top of the table if they beat London rivals Tottenham in their game in hand on 23 March.

“Everybody knows we’ve got the tougher run-in in the league,” said Hayes. “We have to win every game, we know what we have to do – every game is a cup final.”

Line-ups

Everton Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 18Brosnan
  • 3Turner
  • 20Finnigan
  • 6George
  • 30Pattinson
  • 22GalliSubstituted forDaliat 81′minutes
  • 5BjörnSubstituted forGrahamat 45′minutes
  • 11Emslie
  • 8ChristiansenSubstituted forDugganat 81′minutes
  • 28BennisonSubstituted forMaierat 68′minutes
  • 10MagillSubstituted forGauvinat 69′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1MacIver
  • 7Dali
  • 9Duggan
  • 13Gauvin
  • 17Graham
  • 21Maier
  • 26Clinton

Chelsea Women

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Musovic
  • 4Bright
  • 3NouwenSubstituted forMjeldeat 82′minutes
  • 7Carter
  • 21CharlesSubstituted forErikssonat 61′minutes
  • 17Fleming
  • 22CuthbertSubstituted forSpenceat 61′minutes
  • 5Ingle
  • 11ReitenSubstituted forAbdullinaat 75′minutes
  • 23HarderSubstituted forEnglandat 75′minutes
  • 20Kerr

Substitutes

  • 9England
  • 10Ji
  • 16Eriksson
  • 18Mjelde
  • 19James
  • 24Spence
  • 25Andersson
  • 27Abdullina
  • 30Berger

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