Chelsea end their pre-season campaign with victory over Spurs

Chelsea have completed their pre-season programme with a 2-0 friendly victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Kingsmeadow.

Pernille Harder and Lauren James got the goals for The Blues as they ended pre-season in a positive manner.

Chelsea went into the match without two of their four Lionesses – Millie Bright and Fran Kirby. Summer signings Ève Périsset and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd were handed home debuts by manager Emma Hayes.

Meanwhile, Spurs started with three centre-backs including new signing Amy Turner. The Lilywhites also gave starts to newcomers Drew Spence, who joined from Chelsea this summer, and Nikola Karczewska, the young Polish international striker.

The first real chance of the game fell to Jess Naz. The Spurs striker ran through on goal but she sent her shot wide.

It was Chelsea who took the lead after 14 minutes when Rosella Ayane couldn’t complete a clearance from Molly Bartrip and the ball fell to Jess Carter. Her looping cross into the box was met by Harder and while her first touch sent the ball into the path of Turner, it rolled back towards the Dane. Despite being off balance, Harder was able to slide the ball across the goal and into the bottom corner of the net to put the hosts 1-0 up.

It was good work from Erin Cuthbert who nipped in from behind Karczewska to intercept a pass from Ash Neville that led to the second goal. The Scotland international released the ball for James who wrong-footed Turner before firing her effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

A minute later, Spence almost scored against her former club but she was denied by Zećira Mušović in the Chelsea goal. At the end of the first half, Spurs went close again, Maren Mjelde clearing the ball off the line after Karczewska had rounded Musovic from a wide angle. It might have been a shot or it might have been a pass for the incoming Naz but ultimately, Mjelde did enough to keep the score at 2-0.

Chelsea took their chances in the first half and Spurs, despite differing personnel, suffered the same problem as last year with not enough players getting into the box.

In the second half, The Lilywhites swapped keepers with Tinja-Riikka Korpela coming on for Becky Spencer. Korpela was a little busier than Spencer had been, making a couple of fine saves to deny the hosts. Equally, Spurs found that their early second half attacks involved more players getting into the box.

With just over half an hour to go, Spurs made a flurry of changes which included an alteration to their attacking line-up as Ayane, Spence, Karczewska and Naz came off and were replaced by Kyah Simon, Cho So-hyun and new signings Ellie Brazil and Celin Bizet Ildhusøy. These changes did initially bring more pace after Spurs had fallen back into their first half patterns. Brazil, Bizet and Simon were all keen to get into the box and Spurs had a 10-minute spell where they looked the more dangerous side. Their best chance fell to Simon who could only head into the side-netting from a ball played in by Brazil. Bizet should arguably have scored just after this too as the ball was played across the Chelsea goal-mouth but her arrival was just too late to make contact.

Chelsea were the dominant side for most of the game and despite resolute defending from Spurs, it was the team who took their chances who were victorious. The visitors struggled to test Mušović but there were some encouraging signs, particularly from Karczewska, Naz and Brazil.

It was another 90 minutes in the tank for Chelsea and a solid performance, if not a high-scoring one. For Spurs, it was a chance for Rehanne Skinner to test her side against the defending champions and see how her new players would cope against the best that the league has to offer. Both managers will have some thinking to do during the international break. Chelsea boss Hayes will have to carefully decide on a starting line-up for opening day whilst having so much depth while Skinner will need find a way to bring more of her attackers into key areas and ensure that her side take more of their chances.