Five things we learned from the WSL action

Jessy Parker Humphreys picks out the biggest talking points from a weekend that put new leaders Chelsea on cloud nine.

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Chelsea thrash Leicester 9-0 to go top in style

If any Arsenal fans were hopefully watching on to see if Leicester could help them out in the title race at all, they did not have to wait too long to find out on Sunday. Within seven minutes Chelsea were 3-0 up, becoming the first side to score three goals in the opening 10 minutes of a WSL game. The opener from Guro Reiten might have been a moment of individual brilliance but from there, Chelsea carved Leicester apart. The current WSL champions seemed to have never-ending amounts of grass to run into, and they only got more confident as they went on. Their ninth goal was a hypnotic passage of passing play, finished off by a fantastic Jessie Fleming strike. It seems the Blues are back to their goalscoring best, and just at the right time.

United beat Everton to keep Champions League qualification in their own hands

When Claire Emslie opened the scoring for Everton after just three minutes at Old Trafford, it became apparent that Manchester United were not going to have their moment in the sun all their own way. Yet the Toffees could not keep a United team in a celebratory mood down for long, with Alessia Russo in particular taking matters into her own hands. Part of what has helped the hosts develop so fast as a club has been their recruitment of childhood fans so it was fitting that it was Russo, who supported them as a kid, and ex-youth team player Zelem who were on the scoresheet. Russo scored her 8th and 9th goals of the season in the 3-1 win, making her currently the WSL’s third highest top scorer. Not bad for a 23-year-old with her eye on a spot in Sarina Wiegman’s Euros starting XI.

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West Ham on the beach in Brighton defeat

With only four games of the season to go for some teams in the WSL, it is hard to blame those around the mid-table for starting to look a bit stodgy as the summer break nears. While West Ham might be one of those teams, it was not so long ago that they still had an outside chance of putting pressure on those in the race for Champions League football but one win in five games has put an end to that. Brighton made relatively light work of a distracted-looking Hammers, who gave the Seagulls more than enough opportunities to put the game to bed as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat. West Ham might now be solely thinking about their forthcoming FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, but it seems like Brighton are still hoping they could improve on last season’s sixth-placed finish.

Blindkilde shines for Villa in draw with Reading

Aston Villa looked rejuvenated in attack thanks to the addition of 18-year-old Laura Blindkilde, as they drew 1-1 with Reading. The hosts were looking to put an end to a three-game losing streak and will have been disappointed not to get all three points as they created more than enough chances to see off the Royals. However, a Justine Vanhaevermaet penalty put the visitors 1-0 up and Villa required a Ramona Petzelberger header to secure the equaliser.

Blindkilde got the assist for the equaliser and shone for much of the match, both in her link-up play with Alisha Lehmann, and in her own right. She played a wonderful pass to Remi Allen who was able to step through Reading’s defence but could not convert the shot. Blindkilde was making only her third start of the season but looked like she could more than hold her own at WSL level.

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Spurs postponement gives Arsenal fixture headache

Tottenham were not the only WSL side to be forced to cancel their weekend fixture due to Covid-19 — Birmingham also had their match with Manchester City called off — but they are likely to have caused the most irritation in doing so. With the North London derby due to have been held at the Emirates and with an expected attendance of around 20,000, Arsenal are now forced to somehow find a new date for the game. That decision may rest on their progress in the Champions League. If they can beat Wolfsburg on Thursday night, their two semi-final fixtures would take place on the weekends of April 23rd/24th and April 30th/May 1st, meaning their WSL fixtures for then would have to be moved. That would potentially leave only April 20th free to play the fixture, and give Arsenal only a couple of days to prepare for a semi-final.

Follow Jessy on Twitter @jessyjph

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