Reigning champions Chelsea beat rivals Man City for first win of WSL season

Mjelde - Reigning champions Chelsea beat Manchester City- live reaction - PA
Mjelde - Reigning champions Chelsea beat Manchester City- live reaction - PA
  • Fran Kirby opened the scoring before half time

  • Maren Mjelde penalty doubled hosts lead

  • Manchester City remain winless this season

Chelsea registered their first points of the Women's Super League season as Fran Kirby's finish and a Maren Mjelde penalty saw the defending champions defeat Manchester City at Kingsmeadow.

Kirby struck the opener in the 42nd minute and Mjelde added a spot-kick with 12 minutes of normal time remaining as Emma Hayes' side bounced back from the shock 2-1 loss at Liverpool in their campaign opener last Sunday.

Gareth Taylor's side created a number of chances, particularly in the first half, which included a Laura Coombs shot that Ann-Katrin Berger did superbly to divert against a post, but they were unable to save themselves from another loss following last weekend's 4-3 reverse at Aston Villa.

Kirby (C) - Reigning champions Chelsea beat rivals Manchester City for their first win of the WSL season - PA
Kirby (C) - Reigning champions Chelsea beat rivals Manchester City for their first win of the WSL season - PA

After Chelsea threatened in the first few seconds of the contest, with Sam Kerr shooting wide, City exerted the greater pressure for much of the opening 45 minutes.

Chloe Kelly saw an attempt held by Berger - back in action for the first time since last month confirming a recurrence of thyroid cancer - and Khadija Shaw sent two efforts over the bar.

Berger subsequently palmed behind when Lauren Hemp tried to beat her at the near post in the 35th minute, before dealing with a deflected effort by Deyna Castellanos.

It was Chelsea who then grabbed the lead late in the half as Guro Reiten knocked the ball across the box to Kirby and the England playmaker, with Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman watching on from the stands, side-footed home.

Moments later Berger pulled off a fine stop as her leg sent Coombs' shot against the post.

Mjelde - Reigning champions Chelsea beat rivals Manchester City for their first win of the WSL season - GETTY IMAGES
Mjelde - Reigning champions Chelsea beat rivals Manchester City for their first win of the WSL season - GETTY IMAGES

And as Manchester City then pushed again early in the second half, Laia Aleixandri flicked wide from a corner and Coombs had another shot saved by Berger.

But the visitors struggled to create much thereafter, while Chelsea sought a second goal with Lauren James curling one shot wide and having another saved by Ellie Roebuck, and Kirby firing over.

Hayes' team were then awarded a penalty when substitute Sophie Ingle's strike hit the arm of Leila Ouahabi, and defender Mjelde calmly converted past Roebuck from 12 yards.

Chelsea beat Manchester City - as it happened

06:21 PM

Fran Kirby speaks to Sky Sports

"It’s really nice. We came into the game knowing we needed to improve from the first game. The first half wasn’t the best performance but the second was much better and we’re getting the rewards from it.

"It doesn’t matter who scores, all that matters is that it hits the back of the net. It’s nice to get goals after last year.

Our overall patience on the ball [was where we improved in the second half], our quality of passing and we were quite sloppy in the first half. Scoring the first goal settled us down a little bit as it was a bit erratic. It was against the run of play, but we’re not about possession football here.

"We know it will be a long season, we can’t think: ‘we have won our first game’. We want to look down and analyse this game and see where we can improve. We look forward to Wednesday."

05:57 PM

FT: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

It was not a convincing win from the champions-but Chelsea have their first three points of the season.

We saw late goals in both halves from Fran Kirby and Maren Mjelde from the penalty spot was enough to swat aside Manchester City.

Gareth Taylor's side dominated the opening half but were so wasteful in front of goal.

It's two straight defeats for the visitors , who currently lie in the bottom three.

05:55 PM

90+3 min: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

That was close!

Kelly crosses for Raso at the back post but it just doesn't fall for the Manchester City substitute and Chelsea goalkeeper Berger is able to claim the loose ball.

05:52 PM

90 min: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

And just like the first half there are four minutes added on at Kingsmeadow.

This game is fizzling out into a Chelsea win.

Lauren James is brought off for the final few minutes, with Kaneryd coming on.

05:51 PM

84 min: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

As cool as you like....

Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League  - GETTY IMAGES
Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES

05:45 PM

82 min: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

Manchester City make a change just after that second goal. Hemp comes off for Raso.

It has been a quiet afternoon for the England winger.

05:42 PM

77 min: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

The penalty was given as Reiten's cross from the left was cleared as far as Ingle and Ouahabi tipped the effort with her arm and Roebuck saves.

05:40 PM

77 min: Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0

Emphatic finish by Mjelde, who fires to Roebuck's right with real venom.

The City goalkeeper guessed the right way but had no chance in saving.

Surely, that's the goal the seals the contest- the points are Chelsea's now...

05:37 PM

76 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Penalty to Chelsea!

05:36 PM

73 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

City need an equaliser but its the hosts who are creating the chances.

Yet again, Houghton produces a horror pass-not for the first time in this match.

The ball is so sloppy and Kirby picks the ball up.

The Chelsea midfielder has the time to set herself up and curls one into the top corner.

But, it's just over the bar.

05:34 PM

71 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

That should have been a second for Chelsea.

Reiten's long ball from the left is cleared as far as Lauren James on the edge of the box.

The Chelsea winger produces a couple of simple step-overs, cuts inside and then curls a left-footed effort, just inches wide of the far post.

05:32 PM

68 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Can Chelsea hold on?

And claim their first win of the season.

There is around 20 minute to go at Kingsmeadow.

05:27 PM

64 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City

Emma Hayes blinks first and make the first substitution of the afternoon with Sophie Ingle replacing Jess Fleming in midfield.

05:26 PM

62 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Roebuck had to rescue City by clawing the danger away at the left-hand post after the visitors find themselves in a real mess, as a ball bounces inside the penalty area.

Goal-scorer Kirby whips in the free-kick from the right as the hosts produce more pressure on the visitors. But, then City counter and Cuthbert fouls the ever-dangerous Shaw on the halfway line.

05:22 PM

60 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Lauren James really does like zipping past defenders.

It is much better from Chelsea now.

You feel they have control of this match for the first time.

05:20 PM

57 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Coombs has no luck in front of goal this afternoon...

She sprints clear inside the penalty area on the right, sending in a low shot from a tight angle that Berger is equal to with something to spare.

05:17 PM

54 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Chelsea create their first chance of the game.

As Eriksson puts in a high, deep cross from the left and Roebuck struggles to get a hold of it. She is only able to punch it away with uncertainty.

Apart from that, the visitors have been dominant so far.

05:14 PM

51 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Manchester City press Chelsea into another defensive error and Coombs is released in the right hand side of the box.

But her strong effort to the near post is well held by Berger.

05:11 PM

48 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

That was some incredible build up play by Chelsea goalkeeper Berger.

As Eriksson puts her into danger with a difficult back pass and is under some pressure from Hemp inside her own-six yard box.

But the German calmly retrieves the ball out of trouble with a touch past the City attacker and passes the ball into midfield.

Tense stuff there...

05:06 PM

46 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

There must have been two very different team talks at the break at Kingsmeadow.

City need some clinical finishing while Chelsea need to play better.

05:05 PM

Second half

Manchester City gets us back underway.

05:03 PM

The first half in pictures

Fran Kirby - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
Fran Kirby - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
James (L) Coombs (R) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League  - GETTY IMAGES
James (L) Coombs (R) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League  - PA
Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - PA

04:55 PM

HT: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Referee Abigail Byrne brings an end to a thrilling half at Kingsmeadow.

You feel Chelsea have been the second best for most of this game but the champions have done what champions do.

Manchester City have had 11 chances in this first-half but the majority of them falling to Shaw. It's been a mixture of poor finishing and Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger heroics have kept their scorecard empty so far.

It's all set up for a incredible second period- stay with us!

04:50 PM

45 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

There are four minutes to be added on at Kingsmeadow.

What an incredible half it has been!

04:49 PM

44 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

City were nearly level minutes after conceding at Kingsmeadow.

Manchester City are looking to bounce back straight away and Kelly's cross from the right finds Coombs all on her own at the back post,

Coombs goes for power but Berger gets down brilliantly at the near post to deny a certain goal.

04:47 PM

42 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

Buchanan's long ball forward caused havoc for the visitors on the right and Fleming pick up the ball for Chelsea and charge down the left.

Reiten takes over from Fleming as she goes down and squares to Kirby in the penalty box. It was a simple finish from the England who taps it home for her side.

It was the hosts first shot on the target in the game. They have been dominated by the visitors but they have nipped themselves in front.

04:44 PM

41 min: Chelsea 1 Manchester City 0

GOAAAALLLLLLLLL

It really was against the run of play but Chelsea lead!

Fran Kirby does not miss those.

04:42 PM

37 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Manchester City are really on top now, as they are forcing Chelsea into so many errors at the back.

The visitors front three are really getting into their groove as Hemp passes to Castellanos- with the new signing teeing up Coombs on the edge of the box but Fleming is there to block the effort and concedes the corner.

04:39 PM

34 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

City winger Lauren Hemp creates another big chance against the champions.

Mjelde's backpass to Berger is sloppy and the Chelsea goalkeeper is forced into a wild miskick. Kelly picks up the ball down the left and ventures into the box, but Berger makes a strong stop at the near post.

Kelly flicks it wide from the corner and you have to say Chelsea look really uneasy at the back.

04:33 PM

30 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

As Chelsea pick up a slight injury blow with Mjelde off the pitch due to blood coming from her nose.

The visitors try to take advantage but Castenallos's cross is well held by Berger.

04:31 PM

27 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Another big change for Manchester City.

Cuthbert gives the ball away at the edge of the box and Castellanos picks up the loose ball

The 23-year-old plays a brilliant reverse pass into Kelly's feet and suddenly she is able to find space in the box.

However, Mjelde comes across to block what looked like a certain goal for the visitors.

04:28 PM

24 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Another chance for the visitors.

You feel Manchester City are taking over the run of play in this game now.

New signing Castellanos lets fly from around 30 yards out and is closer than Shaw's previous attempt on goal.

What an opening quarter it has been.

04:27 PM

20 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Shaw is proving to be a real handful for the Chelsea defence and their new signing Buchanan.

The Manchester City forward stands up to the Chelsea defender on the edge of box and chests down a long ball. Shaw then swivels quickly but gets slightly underneath the ball and her shot is too high.

04:25 PM

17 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

This has been an outstanding first 17 minutes of entertainment at Kingsmeadow.

Both sides should have scored and neither team will be happy with how they've defended at times,

Surely, this won't stay at 0-0.

04:22 PM

14 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Penalty appeal!

Shaw bursts past a couple of Chelsea challenges and tries to hurdle Buchanan and goes down.

There was clear contact but it looks like it was just outside the box.

Referee Abigail Byrne waves it away.

For sure, it wasn't a penalty but there was clear contact on the edge of the area.

The visitors could feel hard done by.

04:19 PM

12 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Chelsea are so close to an opener here at Kingmeadow.

It was a horror backpass from Houghton and Kerr is through on goal.

The Chelsea forward squares the ball to Fran Kirby who can tap into an empty net but Aleixandri is there in the box to cut out a clear goal.

Chelsea are really warming up here...

04:15 PM

8 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Chelsea are so dangerous in the final third, as Eriksson's deep cross finds James at the back post- but the Chelsea attacker fires the cross towards Reiten at the back post.

Steph Houghton makes a crucial block and Roebuck collects the ball. However, James did look a few yard offside but that wasn't spotted by the officials.

04:13 PM

6 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Anyone who wanted a slow Sunday, don't visit Kingsmeadow

This is real end to end stuff!

Coombs launches a long ball up to Kelly who barges Fleming out the way and has a clear shot at goal

However Kelly's effort is tame and Berger saves easily, That was a good chance for the England star.

04:11 PM

4 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

Another attack from Chelsea- we've already had three good chances here at Kingsmeadow in the opening few minutes.

Fran Kirby releases the Sam Kerr down the right but the Australian shoots from the edge of the area, but it's an easy grab for Manchester City keeper.

04:09 PM

2 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

What a blistering start here at Kingsmeadow and now it's Manchester City turn to come forward.

Khadija Shaw shows great strength down the right and could have gone for goal, but instead tried to find Lionesses hero Chloe Kelly for tap-in.

The hosts manage to clear out for a corner, which Chelsea manger to clear.

04:06 PM

1 min: Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0

We nearly had a goal in ten seconds here at Kingsmeadow.

Bright's launch upfield is flicked on by Sam Kerr in the box but she can only fire wide.

What a good start from the hosts.

04:03 PM

Kick off

Chelsea gets us underway at Kingsmeadow

Will Emma Hayes' champions get their first points of the season or will Manchester City condemn Chelsea to a horror start?

03:59 PM

The teams are on their way out at Kingsmeadow; a quick reminder of the line ups

Chelsea: Berger, Bright, James, Reiten, Kirby, Eriksson (captain), Fleming, Mjelde, Kerr, Cuthbert, Buchanan

Subs: Musovic, Ingle, Carter, England, Svitoka, Perisset, Kaneryd, Charles, Cankovic

Manchester City: Roebuck, Casparij, Houghton, Greenwood, Ouhabi, Aleixandri, Castellanos, Coombs, Kelly, Shaw, Hemp

Subs: Maciver, Keating, Stokes, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Losada, Hutchings, Blakstad

03:56 PM

Chelsea fans hail Berger at Kingsmeadow

Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League  - GETTY IMAGES
Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES

There is a big cheer from the home crowd as Ann-Katrin Berger is named as the starting goalkeeper for Chelsea this afternoon.

It is her first appearance for the club since May. She announced last month she was being treated for the recurrence of thyroid cancer.

03:52 PM

'Losing last week doesn't affect Chelsea'

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes has been backing her side to bounce back against Manchester City this afternoon despite their 2-1 loss to Liverpool last weekend.

Speaking to Sky Sports

I always think there are so many leaders in the dressing room and they’re so accountable, so mature. One improvement I have seen in the team is their response to things collectively, not going inwards. Everybody’s really given the best they can this week.

“What we’ve been talking about internally, in terms of how we want to control the game, has to improve. I want to see our team implement what we work so hard on in training.

“We know that there are two top teams on show. It’s a sell-out crowd and I’m sure both teams will create great entertainment.”

03:47 PM

The atmosphere is building at Kingsmeadow

Chelsea supporter (C) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League  - GETTY IMAGES
Chelsea supporter (C) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES

03:45 PM

Warm ups are underway

Chloe Kelly - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
Chloe Kelly - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
Sam Kerr (R) Fran Kirby( L) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
Sam Kerr (R) Fran Kirby( L) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES
Sam Kerr (L) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League  - GETTY IMAGES
Sam Kerr (L) - Chelsea vs Manchester City live: Score and latest updates from the Women's Super League - GETTY IMAGES

03:35 PM

Manchester City starting XI

Manchester City: Roebuck, Casparij, Houghton, Greenwood, Ouhabi, Aleixandri, Castellanos, Coombs, Kelly, Shaw, Hemp

Subs: Maciver, Keating, Stokes, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Losada, Hutchings, Blakstad

03:33 PM

Chelsea starting XI

Chelsea: Berger, Bright, James, Reiten, Kirby, Eriksson (captain), Fleming, Mjelde, Kerr, Cuthbert, Buchanan

Subs: Musovic, Ingle, Carter, England, Svitoka, Perisset, Kaneryd, Charles, Cankovic

03:30 PM

Good afternoon

Following defeat to a newly promoted Liverpool last weekend. Chelsea will be looking to get their title defence up and running when they host Manchester City this afternoon.

Like their opponents, the visitors are also searching for their first points of the season after losing 4-3 to Aston Villa on the opening day.

After claiming a third consecutive WSL title last season, the reigning champions would have been hopeful of beginning the new campaign with a victory when they faced newly-promoted Liverpool last weekend.

Chelsea looked well set to clinch all three points when Fran Kirby dispatched her third minute penalty, but Liverpool turned the game on its head in the second half.

Katie Stengal levelled from the spot in the 67th minute and when Liverpool were awarded the third penalty of the game in the closing stages. Stengal assumed responsibility once again to condemn Chelsea to a 2-1 defeat.

Ahead of their first home match, Chelsea can take confidence from the fact that they have won 14 of their 15 home league games.

Unlike the rest of the WSL, Manchester City are already three games into the 2022-23 season after being involved in Champions League qualifying, which began with a 6-1 win over Tomiris Turan.

However, Manchester City's Champions League journey quickly ended by Real Madrid who claimed a 1-0 victory. Since their eliminatio, Gareth Taylor's side had nearly month to prepare for their season opener against Aston Villa.

There are too many games to play to definitively state that a loss would end any potential title challenge, but Chelsea needed until the last day of the season to recover the three points lost to Arsenal in last year’s home opener — a six-point gap could be a serious obstacle.

This is, however, the first meeting of the presumed “Big 3”. Taking points off a direct rival is always crucial, a sensation surely heightened by the prospect of also throwing the first mound of dirt on one’s title chances.

So, join us for kick off at 4pm!