SEIXAL, PORTUGAL – 9. DECEMBER: Chelsea FC Women’s Francesca Kirby celebrates after scoring in the 32nd. UEFA Women’s Champions League round – first leg between SL Benfica Women and Chelsea FC Women at Benfica Campus on Sept.. December 2020 in Seixal, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia / Getty Images)
Chelsea Women have spent a lot of money over the past few years cementing an already amazing team at the top of the women’s game. Much like it always was for the men until 2012, the Champions League remains the unclaimed golden goose that everyone wants to add to the cabinet.
You couldn’t have asked for a better start to the campaign. Chelsea Women faced Benfica in the round of 16 and dashed the Portuguese side’s hopes and dreams in one half. It was 4-0 at halftime and finally ended 5-0. path. This makes it difficult for the women to turn for the second leg as, as always, they seek all the honors available.
Chelsea started with their usual strong line-up. Emma Hayes hasn’t turned much this season as she has stuck to her 4-4-2 / 4-2-3-1 / whatever it takes to win the formation. She has so many options, but for the most part, the XI is solidified and deadly to any opponent.
It’s worth noting that Benfica’s pitch was ridiculously wide. Hayes grabbed that and the tactical promise that came early. The blues almost exclusively attacked the flanks and took full advantage of the incredibly wide pitch. Fran Kirby clung to a low flank early on to easily get in.
From then on, things have hardly improved for Benfica. A free kick in a loop hit Millie Bright for the second time at the far post. Just a few minutes later, Kirby found another cross through the penalty area that sent him for the third time into the lower left corner. Pernille Harder piled it up with the fourth before halftime.
The second half went like a friendly game. Four away goals are practically insurmountable. After nearly scoring a couple of goals herself in the first half, Beth England eventually made it to the fifth by clinging to a ball in the background. A red card to Benfica shortly thereafter made the result final in all respects. For their merits, Benfica actually turned things on afterwards and had a string of attacks despite the player advantage for the Blues. Nothing came of it when the final score ended 5-0 in favor of Chelsea and there was virtually no chance that this would be overturned in the second leg.
Similar to the men’s Champions League, the women’s Champions League will take a few knockout rounds to really warm up and fill up with even teams. In the meantime, Chelsea women do what they do in the league: they beat (often massively) the teams they should beat, no matter what. Brighton is next in the Premier League and over time the Blues won’t be beatable.
The only real concern is the lack of rotation overall, but it’s difficult to turn around when the team wins 5-0 away in the Champions League. Brighton won’t like their chances and Benfica won’t be in the second leg next week.
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Chelsea F. . C.. . Ladies. L.. . Benfica, UEFA Women’s Champions League, Manchester City F. . C.. . , FA Women Super League, Fran Kirby, Emma Hayes
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