On a tumultuous day for Chelsea, they cruised to a commanding win over West Ham and closed the gap on league leaders Arsenal to five points.
Manager Emma Hayes spoke of a “difficult day” after Roman Abramovich’s attempt to sell the club was halted by government sanctions.
Pernille Harder scored twice with Niamh Charles and Sam Kerr also on target.
Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s second-half goal for West Ham was not enough to trouble the champions.
Before the match, Hayes said that she hoped her players would be able to “switch off” for 90 minutes and forget about what has undoubtedly been a tough day for the London club.
Chelsea were all over West Ham from the first whistle and Harder’s 14th goal of the season came after 20 minutes to reward the Blues’ pressure.
Charles’ long-range shot took a wicked deflection off West Ham captain Gilly Flaherty just three minutes later before Ji’s sublime floated ball into the box was nodded home by Harder.
West Ham had their chances – Katerina Svitkova should have scored from a header while West Ham’s top goalscorer Claudia Walker also came close – but the damage had already been done.
Kerr silenced West Ham’s hopes of a comeback with a clinical right-footed finish, Chelsea’s only shot on target in the second half, after Brynjarsdottir had pulled one back for West Ham just after the break.
The victory takes the Blues, who were beaten in the Continental Cup final by Manchester City, to within five points of Arsenal with two games in hand and ends West Ham’s 10-game unbeaten run at home.
‘It was nice to think about football for 90 minutes’
Hayes said she is having to “deal with different questions” everyday but that she was proud of her “adaptable and resilient group”, who are focused on the hunt for a trophy.
“I think the club has to have time now with the government to dissect the implications of the sanctions and it has to be a two-way process to determine how to run, operate and how to exist in this period,” she said.
“We all have a million questions but I don’t battle with things I can’t control I will probably learn more in the coming days and weeks.”
She added: “Yes today is a big moment for the club, but I believe in giving both sides the time to get it right going forward. It’s important for the players, the staff and the fans to be patient and hopefully that process won’t take too long.”
West Ham Women
- 10SvitkováSubstituted forJoelat 76′minutes
- 2WyneSubstituted forEvansat 57′minutes
- 13YallopSubstituted forFilisat 76′minutes
- 9WalkerSubstituted forLeonat 57′minutes
- 23HarderSubstituted forJamesat 79′minutes
- 10JiSubstituted forReitenat 67′minutes
- 25AnderssonSubstituted forAbdullinaat 76′minutes
- 9EnglandSubstituted forSpenceat 67′minutes
Match ends, West Ham United Women 1, Chelsea Women 4.
Second Half ends, West Ham United Women 1, Chelsea Women 4.
Foul by Drew Spence (Chelsea Women).
Dagny Brynjarsdóttir (West Ham United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Sophie Ingle (Chelsea Women).
Yui Hasegawa (West Ham United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Yui Hasegawa (West Ham United Women) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lucy Parker.
Attempt saved. Lois Kathleen Joel (West Ham United Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Sophie Ingle (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adriana Leon (West Ham United Women).
Foul by Lauren James (Chelsea Women).
Yui Hasegawa (West Ham United Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Lois Kathleen Joel (West Ham United Women) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Lisa Evans with a cross.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Lauren James replaces Pernille Harder because of an injury.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Alsu Abdullina replaces Jonna Andersson.
Substitution, West Ham United Women. Lois Kathleen Joel replaces Katerina Svitková.
Substitution, West Ham United Women. Melisa Filis replaces Tameka Yallop.
Foul by Drew Spence (Chelsea Women).
Hawa Cissoko (West Ham United Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Adriana Leon (West Ham United Women) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucy Parker.