Chelsea have won the first FA Women’s Community Shield in 12 years by beating 10-player Manchester City 2-0 at Wembley this afternoon.
Second half goals from Millie Bright and Erin Cuthbert helped The Blues to lift the silverware after Jill Scott had been sent-off just after the hour mark.
The match gave fans of the women’s game an early preview of what is expected to be a blockbuster title race in this season’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League. Here are five key points that we have taken from the match.
Chloe Kelly could be one of the signings of the summer
Forget the wave of foreign imports to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League this summer, one of the biggest signings looks to be on our doorsteps.
Left-sided forward Kelly joined Manchester City after turning down the offer of a new contract with former club Everton and City boss Gareth Taylor has cleared secured the services of a world class talent. The 22-year-old was a real handful for the Chelsea defence at Wembley and was unlucky not to come away with a goal and an assist to her name. Kelly teed up teammate Janine Beckie to net from an offside position in the first half while the England international was desperately unlucky to see her own shot cannon of a Chelsea post soon after.
Manchester City may have lost the match but their fans can take heart from the fact that they look to have added another very exciting attacking player to their squad over the summer.
Sam Kerr will enjoy better days in a Chelsea shirt
Oh dear, oh dear. Australian international forward Sam Kerr endured what can only be described as a horrendous appearance at the national stadium.
The 26-year-old started her first full campaign as a Chelsea player with several blunders in the Manchester City box which she will be very relieved to know didn’t cost her side the silverware. Kerr could have had, and should have had, a hat-trick at Wembley but instead left City keeper Ellie Roebuck largely untested.
This must surely have been one of Kerr’s worst career performances and Chelsea will definitely see better from the player in the coming weeks and months.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes continues her impressive record in the ‘big games’
Whether it be luck or managerial excellence, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has continued her superb record in the big games.
Her side remain on course for a 2019/2020 domestic treble while they started 2020/2021 with a bang by seeing off Manchester City at Wembley. Of course, the final result in the FA Women’s Community Shield was impacted by the sending-off of City midfielder Jill Scott but Hayes’ recent record in the big games is near-perfect, her side have now not lost any of their last six games against Arsenal and Manchester City inclusive.
To secure victory on a big occasion, you always need an element of luck. Hayes had that at Wembley but she also saw her side display some exceptional attacking talent which on another day, could prove to be more ruthless in the opposition box.
Don’t judge Manchester City on their FA Women’s Community Shield performance
While Manchester City maybe didn’t look as sharp as Chelsea in some areas at Wembley, they are more than capable of matching The Blues this season in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League over the course of 22 games.
We must remember that Ellen White was only given seven minutes of action at the national stadium while the likes of Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle will also be pushing for starts in the coming weeks. Chelsea arguably have more squad depth than City but with White, Mewis and Lavelle in from the off, Gareth Taylor’s side may have a stronger attacking dimension.
City lost on the day but you can’t help thinking that we haven’t witnessed their full potential as a team and it may be a few weeks before we see their brilliance.
Fran Kirby can become the jewel in Chelsea’s crown once again
It was incredibly sad to hear of Fran Kirby’s serious illness which virtually destroyed her 2019/2020 campaign. One could have been forgiven for wondering whether the player would be able to get back to her very best.
Saturday 29 August 2020 is a date which may just go down in Chelsea history for another reason other than the FA Women’s Community Shield victory, the day that the real Kirby returned. The England international was at the heart of many of her side’s attacking moves, setting up teammate Sam Kerr on a couple of occasions only to see the Australian forward produce glaring misses.
Where will Kirby fit in amongst Chelsea’s big summer signings and is she still good enough to represent the top club in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League? Absolutely. What we saw at Wembley was the Kirby of old, a player which is not all that far away from being in the ‘best in the world’ category and long may that continue.