Incredible. Absolutely incredible.
Emma Hayes’ Chelsea have put together some outstanding performances this season, but Sunday’s 4-1 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final may well sit atop the pile. From start to finish, it was unreal.
Beating the German champions is a good result in isolation, but to do so on such a big stage and keep your dreams of an unprecedented quadruple alive? Jeeez.
Thomas Tuchel’s first team and their deep run in Europe has dominated the headlines, but the best football in Chelsea blue has undoubtedly been from the women, who are dominating Europe on merit with some of the best play you’re ever likely to see.
The Blues are solid at the back, with the returning Magda Eriksson taking an already impressive defence to the next level against Bayern. Full-backs Niamh Charles and Jess Carter looked almost possessed with their desire to physically and tactically dominate the Germans.
However, if you want to talk about domination, look no further than Chelsea’s attack.
Kerrby, the devastating combo of Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby, have deservedly gained most of the plaudits this year. The duo are both world-class talents individually, but together, they have formed a deadly understanding. The Bayern defence could not keep up with them, with Kirby bagging the first and last goals and Kerr close to adding her own.
That’s not to discredit the impact of the world’s most expensive player, Pernille Harder. Taking on a Roberto Firmino-esque role against Bayern, the Dane pulled defenders all over the pitch to try and give Kerrby the limelight, and yet still managed to pop up with the goal that effectively sealed things. Even when she doesn’t want to score, she scores.
The Blues were electric in attack and resolute in defence. The dying embers of the game saw all 11 Chelsea players putting their bodies on the line for the cause, and their resolve was only breached by a moment of absolute magic from Sarah Zadrazil. That’s the kind of brilliance it takes to breach this Chelsea side.
On an individual level, this Chelsea side are close to perfect, and what tips them over the edge is the outstanding managerial work of Hayes, who seems to be able to come up with the perfect game plan for any scenario.
You could see how much it meant to the boss, who littered her post-match interview with BT Sport with the expletives of a woman who had worked her entire life for this moment. She is dripping with passion, and it’s infectious.
When you put it all together, you can see why this Chelsea side are on the brink of history. To say they’re the best club side in the history of women’s football is a stretch, but the numbers don’t lie. The quadruple is very much alive.
Whether Hayes’ side end up with all the silverware or not remains to be seen, and truth be told, it doesn’t really matter. This team have done something truly special this year and will go down in history regardless.