Internationals: Eriksson scores for Sweden and Harder captains Denmark to triumph

Harder skippered Denmark to their sixth successive win in the qualifiers after comfortably defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-0 this afternoon. The Blues forward and her Danish team have a maximum 18 points as they target qualification for the European Championships, which take place in England in two years’ time.

Our new No.23 played the whole game on the right-hand side of a front three in a 3-4-3 system. Although Denmark completely dominated the entire match, having 30 attempts to their opponents’ one, it took them until the 37th minute to find an opener, but then two more goals followed in a matter of minutes.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Nadia Nadim broke the deadlock when she calmly converted a penalty given for a foul and six minutes later Sanne Troelsgaard of FC Rosengard rifled an effort from the edge of the area that beat the Bosnian keeper. The third came in added time as Rikke Sevecke, who plays her football for Everton, rose above her marker to powerfully head home a looping corner. Midfielder Nanna Christianse completed the scoring in the 90th minute.

Denmark now travel to Malta for their next qualifier on Tuesday. Melanie Leupolz and Germany play Republic of Ireland on Saturday and then meet Montenegro three days later. Norwegian Blues Maren Mjelde, Maria Thorisdottir and Guro Reiten will come up against Sophie Ingle’s Wales on Tuesday also.

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Gallagher signs new deal and completes Premier League loan

The five-year deal commits Gallagher to his boyhood club until at least 2025 and follows a positive first season in senior football in the Championship.

His latest switch to the Hawthorns is the first loan to a top-flight club for the 21-year-old, who earned plenty of praise for his performances in English football’s second tier last term, where he spent the first half of the campaign at Charlton Athletic before switching to Swansea City.

The Epsom-born midfielder is one of the many who have progressed through our Academy from the very earliest age groups on to senior football. At Charlton he played in all but one of their league games in the first half of 2019/20 and scored six goals, but with the south London side struggling, he switched to South Wales, helping Swansea qualify for the Championship play-offs where they lost out to Brentford over two legs. Gallagher played 21 times for the Swans.

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Chelsea Women’s emphatic win makes history

It comes as no surprise that Emma Hayes’ team continued to be in total control of the contest after the break. Chelsea’s top scorer last term, Bethany England, opened her 2020/21 account when she reacted quickly to a rebound to volley the ball home. On came new recruits Niamh Charles and Pernille Harder who both got in on the act. Charles contributed to the afternoon by scoring with her first touch after Harder’s deadly strike was spilled by Bristol’s No.1, enabling the young England international to coolly tap into an empty net.

Within five minutes of getting her assist, Harder notched her first goal in a Blues shirt and it was a thing of beauty. Charles returned the favour and turned provider for her team-mate as she drilled in a low cross from the left for the Denmark forward to majestically flick in with her heel. With just minutes left of play, goal number nine came when Sam Kerr ran onto Harder’s through ball and confidently steered beyond keeper Sophie Baggaley.

This relentless scoreline has topped the existing league record, a result that was already held by the Blues back in 2017, when we defeated Liverpool 7-0 in our triumphant Spring Series campaign. Goals from Gilly Flaherty, Kirby, Ji, Mjelde, Karen Carney, Cuthbert and Drew Spence secured that win – with five of those names still currently playing a crucial part in our Chelsea squad.

Below is a table showing the most goalscorers for a team in a single WSL match. The Blues’ 8-0 drubbing of our London neighbours West Ham from last season is also in the rankings, with six different players finding the net.

Mjelde and England netted a brace apiece while Sophie Ingle, Cuthbert, Ramona Bachmann and Emily Murphy also contributed in front of goal.

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Timo targets titles and quick adaption at Chelsea

Aside from a Confederations Cup triumph with Germany in 2017, Werner does not possess a winner’s medal from his professional career. The closest he has come was when RB Leipzig lost the DFB Pokal final last year, so despite picking up plenty of individual accolades and praise in recent seasons, it is a collective success he is targeting at Chelsea.

‘I have come here to win titles and as many games as I can,’ said Werner in a press conference today.

‘Chelsea is a big club, a club that always wants to win, and I’m a player who always wants to win every game.

‘It’s clear we want to win titles. Now we have a very strong team, and a young team that can develop and go through a period of a long time where we can stay together because we are young. That’s a good way and that’s what I want to reach here.

‘I also wanted to come to the Premier League because it’s the world’s best league, and I wanted to have the feeling to play here for such a big club like Chelsea.’

Werner cited the league’s popularity around the world as one of the factors that makes it stand out compared to the Bundesliga, although he won’t be able to sample games with crowds in yet.

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Werner: We have the quality to beat Liverpool

‘We have some good but calm and nice players. We can do well with this team in the next few months and the next few years.

‘We will improve game by game but now we have to play on Sunday and we try to win the game. We are playing against a strong team and they have such good players, not only Virgil van Dijk, the whole defending part of Liverpool are very good. They conceded the least goals in the league and it is a great team in every position.

‘But we also have great players and we have the quality to beat them. It will be an interesting game.’

Liverpool was one of the clubs Werner was linked to in the media before he settled on signing at Stamford Bridge, and the 24-year-old discussed that choice.

‘When I decided to leave Leipzig I talked to different clubs, next to Chelsea,’ he said, ‘but I don’t want to talk too much about other clubs because I decide on Chelsea because for me it was the best decision I can take.

‘Not only because of the style of football but because of what they have shown to me. It was a hard decision but I am very excited and proud with what I decided and I am happy I decided like this.

‘After one-and-a-half months here it feels right, it feels really good and the team is brilliant. We have some good but calm and nice players. We can do well with this team in the next few months and the next few years.’
 

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Carabao Cup opponents decided

The final score in the game that was held at Boro’s Riverside Stadium was 2-0 with the goals scored in the first half by Patrick Schmidt and Jordan Williams.

Barnsley, who are managed by Austrian Gerhard Struber, had former Chelsea Academy goalkeeper Bradley Collins (pictured) in their side. He made a save in the second half from the Teessiders’ best opportunity.

The third round game at Stamford Bridge next Wednesday will be the first in the League Cup between the sides. We last played Barnsley in the FA Cup in 2008.
 

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First Play Predictor winner crowned from 100,000 fans

Our first matchday winner, Jone from Norway, was among the clever few who got both of those correct, on his way to a table-topping score of 80 points, winning himself a £100 Megastore voucher and signed Chelsea shirt in the process.

Jone said: ‘Some may say predicting Jorginho to score the first goal was just pure luck. Of course it was not. A Timo Werner debut sure smelled like a penalty to me.

‘After Jorginho buried the penalty in the very minute I had predicted, I knew that I was off to a good start, but I was amazed to see that I had won. I can’t wait for the signed kit to arrive. It will have a special place on the wall where I watch Chelsea games.

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Hear from Werner in Liverpool programme

The Germany international made his Premier League debut for the Blues in our 3-1 win over Brighton and he looked lively throughout.

Featuring as the central striker may have surprised those who expected him to cut in from out wide, but as Werner told us in an exclusive interview for the first programme of the season, his versatility is one of his greatest strengths.

‘I know what I have to do as a striker, and I know what I have to do as a winger, or as a No.10, or whatever you call it here – everybody calls it something different! In my opinion, they are totally different positions.

‘You have to do something different depending on this. You might have to go more deep in one position, or keep the ball, or go for one v ones, always keeping pressure on the defender.

‘It’s good for me because I’m not focused all on one position, and it’s good for the manager.’

As well as this tactical insight, Werner talks us through his career to date, covering all the highs and lows – and he reveals which striker he looked up to when he was a young boy growing up in Germany.

On top of the interview with Werner, you can also read the thoughts of Frank Lampard and Cesar Azpilicueta in their first programme notes of the new season, plus Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck addresses supporters in a column for our home opener.

On top of that, we look back at the career of another of our new signings, Hakim Ziyech, in pictures; Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink talks us through a famous win over Liverpool at the start of the Roman Abramovich era in the first edition of What’s the Story; club historian Rick Glanvill begins his epic story of Stamford Bridge in the series Brick by Brick; and our first Deep Dive features Pierluigi Casiraghi, who talks about his solitary Chelsea goal at Anfield and the knee injury that ended his career soon after.
 

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Watch the highlights of our opening-day win at Brighton

While Jorginho’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Leandro Trossard, it took just 100 seconds for Reece James to restore our advantage with an unstoppable strike thundered into the top corner.

The defender then turned provider, floating in an outswinging corner that Kurt Zouma turned goalwards and behind the goalkeeper via the help of a useful deflection. Click here to read our report of the game.

Afterwards, Frank Lampard reflected on the impact of debutants Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, as well as that incredible goal from James. You can hear more from the boss in the video below. 

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Lampard updates on Werner and Pulisic injuries, and knew James had goal in him

The boss went on to discuss the injury that kept Christian Pulisic out of this game and why Jorginho came off near the end.

‘Christian was training with us last week but he had a bit of discomfort a couple of days ago when he was trying to be in contention for today. It would have been a big ask for today and he has had to take a few steps back and we will have to see.

‘Jorginho is just tiredness. A lot of players are not fully fit at the moment and that is just the way it is. I thought they dealt with the rigors of the game very well in terms of how tough it is to come to Brighton when you are not quite there.’

As impressive as Werner was, it is Reece James who will share the headlines due to the quality of his strike.

‘The goal did not surprise me,’ insisted Lampard. ‘I know he can catch hold of shots and we try to get him in those positions to get shots away. It was so clean but I know he has that in him.

‘For the young players, the opportunities are there if the lads train well and perform well, and Reece does that for us. Right-back is a position where I have two quality players I can pick, with slightly different attributes, and that is a good problem for me.’
 

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