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Chelsea Edge Past West Ham in Controversial WSL Clash

by: EdwardB


Chelsea returned to the summit of the Women’s Super League with a 2-0 victory over West Ham, but the match was overshadowed by controversy surrounding a crucial offside call that denied the Hammers an equaliser.

Aggie Beever-Jones and Erin Cuthbert scored for the Blues, punishing West Ham for their profligacy in front of goal. However, the game could have taken a different turn had Honoka Hayashi’s first-half effort not been incorrectly ruled offside.

West Ham Missed Opportunities Haunt Them

West Ham started brightly and could have been two goals up within the first five minutes. Viviane Asseyi narrowly missed the target with a header, and Kirsty Smith put a close-range effort wide when unmarked.

Their best chance came in the 14th minute when Hayashi found the back of the net, only to see the flag raised for offside despite replays showing she was clearly onside. This decision left West Ham manager Rehanne Skinner understandably furious.

It’s not good enough, Skinner said after the match. It’s a frequent occurrence…Apologies post the game don’t change the outcome.

West Ham continued to threaten throughout the match, with Ueki hitting the crossbar and Asseyi missing another good opportunity. Ultimately, their failure to convert their chances proved costly.

Chelsea Clinical Finishing Makes the Difference

While Chelsea were not at their best, they showed their clinical edge in front of goal. Beever-Jones opened the scoring early on, capitalizing on a well-worked move down the left flank.

Emma Hayes’ substitutions proved decisive, with Cuthbert adding a second goal late in the game to secure the victory. Despite not being entirely satisfied with the performance, Chelsea players acknowledged the importance of the win.

“We don’t underestimate anybody,” said Beever-Jones. “Two great goals from us, but the standard wasn’t there today…We weren’t up to scratch, but we have games every three days, so we have to be happy with it and we got the job done.”

Controversy and Calls for VAR

The major talking point of the match was the incorrect offside call that denied Hayashi a goal. Skinner was vocal in her criticism of the officiating, highlighting the need for VAR in the WSL.

A lot of people are talking about VAR, she said. If that’s what we must do to get results right, then that’s what we need to do.

This incident reignited the debate about the standard of officiating in women’s football. Many argue that the lack of VAR and the semi-professional status of referees are holding the league back.

Chelsea Maintain Title Charge

Despite the controversy, Chelsea’s victory keeps them firmly in the title race. They sit above Manchester City on goal difference, with both teams still having two games in hand.

The Blues continue to compete on all fronts, showcasing their strength and determination to retain their WSL crown. However, the match also highlighted the growing competitiveness of the league, with West Ham proving a tough opponent despite their missed chances.

The debate surrounding officiating is likely to continue, with calls for VAR growing louder. As the WSL continues to develop and attract more attention, ensuring fair and accurate officiating will be crucial for maintaining the league’s integrity and competitiveness.

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