Chelsea set WSL unbeaten run record with comfortable win at Aston Villa

Sport

Chelsea became record-breakers at Aston Villa on Wednesday night when they extended their unbeaten run in the Women’s Super League to 32 games. Two years to the day from their last WSL defeat, Emma Hayes’s “Invincibles” returned to the top of the table by cantering to the most comprehensive of 4-0 wins at Aston Villa.

“When you consider the quality we have to face it’s an unbelievable record,” said Hayes, whose defending champions are now in front of second‑placed Manchester United on goal difference with a game in hand. “It gets harder and harder and harder playing with a target on your back. I don’t think we’ll recognise just how good this team is until much later on.”

As Sam Kerr, Beth England, Pernille Harder and Magdalena Eriksson all scored goals, Chelsea eclipsed Manchester City’s 31-game WSL unbeaten run registered between 2015 and 2017. Along the way Hayes’s formidable team have recorded 25 wins and seven draws and scored 105 goals while conceding only 22 and keeping 15 clean sheets.

“I didn’t think about the record prior to the game,” she said. “It’s not a trophy – but it shows how consistent this team has been. I represent a fantastic bunch who are all very deserving. I’m very proud of them.”

It was not the technical area debut Villa’s new interim manager Marcus Bignot would have wanted. The former Queens Park Rangers defender has been drafted in to mentor his predecessor, Gemma Davies, who reverts to a coaching role but, slightly confusingly, retains the title of head coach. The pair were together on the touchline, albeit with Davies generally standing a little behind her new boss who assumed the lead choreographer’s role.

Bignot – a one-time manager of Birmingham Women – will combine his attempts to steer second bottom Villa clear of relegation peril with helping coach England men’s Under-19s.

Coincidentally, it was Birmingham that inflicted Chelsea’s last WSL defeat, in January 2019. In her first match in charge, Marta Tejedor, a former Chile and Peru Coach, took her team to London and secured a 3-2 stoppage-time victory, courtesy of Ellen White’s winner.

Tejedor and Birmingham parted company last March, while England’s White is now a Manchester City striker but Hayes’s record has guaranteed her the sort of longevity her Stamford Bridge men’s counterparts can only dream about.