What went wrong for Chelsea in the Women’s Champions League final?

The PA news agency takes a look at what went wrong for Chelsea in their Women's Champions League final defeat to Barcelona (PA Wire)
12:49pm, Mon 17 May 2021
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Chelsea’s bid to win the Women’s Champions League for the first time in the club’s history ended in a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona in Sunday’s final.

Emma Hayes’ side looked to be on course to make history, and were the first English side to reach the final since Arsenal won the competition back in 2007.

However, Barcelona outclassed the Blues in almost every area of the pitch as they claimed their own maiden Champions League title.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what went wrong for Chelsea

What went wrong for the Blues?

Barcelona struck four times in 36 minutes to end Chelsea's title hopesampions League – Final – Gamla Ullevi (PA Wire)

Chelsea had their dreams of a first Women’s Champions League title come crashing down in a crushing 4-0 defeat to Barcelona. The Catalan side struck four times inside the opening 36 minutes to put the game far beyond hopes of a Chelsea recovery.

Why were Chelsea unable to compete?

Pernille Harder was the only Chelsea player to have played in a previous final (PA Wire)

Chelsea’s inexperience was one of the deciding factors in the match, the side had never reached the final before and were unable to recover after conceding so early. Only one of Chelsea’s line-up, Pernille Harder, had played in a Champions League final.

Was it a surprise?

With the benefit of hindsight, some issues had been evident in the first leg of the semi-final, a 2-1 away defeat to Bayern Munich, before Chelsea rallied and came back at Kingsmeadow to win 5-3 on aggregate. Bayern Munich had come out of the blocks quickly, taking an early 12th-minute lead and despite securing a crucial away-goal Emma Hayes’ side did not look the dominant force they have been domestically.

What’s next for Chelsea?

Chelsea were visited by owner Roman Abramovich in their dressing room after the defeat and the players vowed to the owner they would return to the final. Hayes admitted her side were naive, despite having already won the Women’s Super League and League Cup this year.

Why was it so easy for Barcelona?

Barcelona used their experience of defeat in 2019 to come out on top (PA Wire)

Two years ago Barcelona were subject to a heavy defeat to Lyon in the Champions League final, the French club scored twice in the opening 14 minutes, comfortably outplayed the Catalans and won 4-1. That experience proved valuable, eight of those who were in the starting XI in 2019 were included in the squad in Gothenberg.

How good were Barcelona?

Barcelona have made the semi-finals of the Champions League in four out of the last five seasons, including the current one. This season they finished top of the Primera Division, unbeaten in 26 league matches, scoring 128 goals while conceding just five.

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