Chelsea ease past Tottenham as Emma Hayes returns to Blues dugout

Sam Kerr’s first-half strike helped Chelsea to a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge and lifted the Blues back to the top of the Women’s Super League table.

Spurs started brightly but the Blues took full control in front of 38,350 supporters.

Erin Cuthbert doubled the hosts’ lead before Guro Reiten scored from the spot ahead of the break in Emma Hayes’ first match back in the dugout following her emergency hysterectomy last month.

The strike extended Kerr’s scoring streak against Spurs to six goals in five matches as defending champions Chelsea moved three points clear of second-placed Arsenal.

The visitors controlled the opening minutes and had the first opportunity through Drew Spence, whose low cross from the right was easily stopped by Ann-Katrin Berger.

Spurs were awarded an early free-kick after Jessie Fleming brought down Spence, returning to face her former club for the first time, but Berger was there to collect Eveliina Summanen’s effort.

It took just four minutes for Chelsea to score the only goal the last time these sides met at the Bridge. This time it took Kerr 12 minutes to find the opener, dodging a late challenge before coolly firing into the bottom-right corner.

Emma Hayes returned to the Chelsea dugout
Emma Hayes returned to the Chelsea dugout (John Walton/PA)

Kerr nearly bagged a brace moments later when she chased after a loose ball in the area but was beaten by a diving Tinja-Riikka Korpela, who did well to stop Kerr’s low strike soon after.

Chelsea scored their second when Reiten’s corner bounced in the direction of a wide open Cuthbert just outside the 18-yard box, who brought the ball down with her chest before sending a volley into the top-right corner.

The hosts made it three when Lauren James was charged down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Reiten stepped up and sent Korpela the wrong way with an assured finish.

Spence hoped to deny her former club a clean sheet, but sent her effort wide of the left post before Berger came off her line to take the ball out of the air and prevent Ashleigh Neville from cutting the deficit before the break.

Chelsea kept up the pressure after the restart and had several early chances to add to their advantage, Korpela first blocking Magdalena Eriksson’s sharp strike before Millie Bright’s effort pinged off the crossbar.

Jessica Naz broke down the right to try to set up something for Spurs but Bright was there to clear her cross, Berger comfortably catching Neville’s long-range effort soon after.

Spurs emerged unscathed from a sustained period of Chelsea attacks, James missing a chance to extend the Blues’ advantage on 75 minutes by sending her effort from 20 yards inches wide of the left post.