WSL Matchday 11 round-up: Kerr earns Chelsea precious point at Arsenal
Sam Kerr’s late header ensured Chelsea remained clear at the top of the Women’s Super League with a 1-1 draw at title rivals Arsenal.
The Gunners were ahead at the Emirates through Kim Little’s second-half penalty but the Australian headed home Jelena Cankovic’s cross with one minute of normal time to play to earn a precious point.
That draw leaves the Blues three points clear of their rivals at the summit, while Manchester United’s 6-0 win over Liverpool saw them leapfrog the North Londoners into second on goal difference.
Manager Emma Hayes was full of praise for Kerr as her side extended their unbeaten run to 16 games in all competitions.
The 46-year-old said: "What she [Kerr] has not many have. In fact, I don’t think anyone in the world can score the number of goals she has throughout her career because the standout attribute for me was that she doesn’t lose focus. Not at any point.
"She stays confident in the game, she knows that it will only take one chance and she stays switched on to that.
"The ball from Jelena was absolutely world class but so was the leap, so was the header. I really admire that, because so often the top players have a moment [where] they switch off. Not Sam."
Despite missing out on the chance to go level on points with the champions, Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall saw the positives having dominated their London counterparts for much of the contest.
The Swedish coach said: "You have two teams who won their groups in the Champions League. Both teams can reach the semis, so they're in the top four teams in European football.
"European football is the best, so it is two of the best teams in the world. That is what you see today and we had a strong performance.
"We've played them three times in WSL under me and we are undefeated — and in each game we could have won. Those performances give me hope and belief for the future."
United thrash rivals
Manchester United boss Marc Skinner set his sights on the WSL title after storming past Liverpool 6-0 at Leigh Sports Village.
United were 3-0 up against their rivals at half-time thanks to goals from Lucia Garcia, Alessia Russo and Hayley Ladd.
They continued their dominance after the break as Martha Thomas, Rachel Williams and Emma Koivisto sealed a memorable afternoon.
Skinner’s side sit second, just three points behind Chelsea with a game in hand.
The Red Devils boss said: "It's very important we try and maximise our potential. We'll keep fighting, fighting, fighting — 12 games to go and then the cup as well.
"Can we [win the league]? Of course we can. Do we want to? Absolutely, certainly we want to."
Reds manager Matt Beard called the result "embarrassing" after his side’s four-game unbeaten league run came to an end.
He said: "We should be embarrassed by it because I am.
"It's not as if we're a poor team because we've competed so well this year. I can't understand this 90 minutes.
"I apologise for the performance to the fans. I don't care whether it's Manchester United, whether it's Chelsea, whether it's Manchester City, we should not be losing matches 6-0 at this level."
Villa overcome Spurs
Aston Villa inflicted Tottenham's fifth straight league defeat after coming from behind to win 2-1 in the first WSL match of 2023.
Bethany England scored 28 minutes into her Spurs debut following her record-breaking £250,000 move from Chelsea.
But Villa, who started with new signings Lucy Staniforth and Jordan Nobbs in midfield, drew level within 10 minutes through Kenza Dali’s long-range strike.
WSL top scorer Rachel Daly then netted her ninth of the season just four minutes later, turning in Kirsty Hanson’s cross for what proved to be the winner.
WSL Matchday 11 results
Aston Villa 2-1 Tottenham
Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea
Everton 3-2 Reading
Manchester United 6-0 Liverpool
Leicester 3-0 Brighton
West Ham 0-1 Manchester City