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Lauren James shines again with hat-trick against Manchester United

By Caitlin Hamill Jan 21, 2024
Chelsea's Lauren James celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Chelsea Women v Manchester United Women Barclays Women's Super League match at Stamford Bridge, London, England.Photo by Rhianna Chadwick/Every Second Media/Shutterstock Chelsea's Lauren James celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Chelsea Women v Manchester United Women Barclays Women's Super League match at Stamford Bridge, London, England.

Back-to-back league hat-tricks at Stamford Bridge from Lauren James keep Chelsea at the top of the table, in a 3-1 win over Manchester United in the WSL on Sunday.

Chelsea’s first WSL game after the winter break saw the side without captain Millie Bright and Sam Kerr, yet it took just five minutes for the “explosive” Lauren James to put The Blues in front.

After a few short passes inside the United box, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd laid the ball off to former United player James, who found space to strike it past her England teammate Mary Earps and into the net. James took to celebrating in front of the United fans, who had been booing the forward each time she collected the ball.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: “I’ve never seen a player like Lauren doing the things she does individually. Often you play against players who have got a strong side, but Lauren can do it on both feet, and I thought it was a brilliant, brilliant performance.”

James wonderfully doubled the lead in the 23rd minute when Nathalie Bjorn expertly lofted a ball over the top of the United defence for James to run onto after breaking from defenders. She struck the ball first time to send it flying past Earps, who had no chance of stopping it.

Her hat-trick goal sealed victory in the 85th minute after a poor goal kick from Earps was flicked by Sjoeke Nusken to James, she then charged at goal and slotted the ball across the goal with her left foot and into the net.

“She’s so explosive…Lauren can do it with both feet,” said Hayes.

James, who received a standing ovation from the loud 20,473 strong crowd, has now scored 10 goals in the WSL this season. She has scored more goals at Stamford Bridge this season than any other Chelsea player, men and women.

United pulled one back just before halftime when Geyse skillfully evaded Chelsea’s tackles inside the box and squared the ball to Lucia Garcia, her shot rebounded straight to Hayley Ladd who poked the ball into the goal.

United called for a penalty in the 75th minute when Leah Galton burst into the box but went down under pressure from Ashley Lawrence, but referee Abigail Byrne had no interest despite appeals from the United dugout.

Manchester United manager Mark Skinner said: “She hasn’t dived, there’s enough contact for me, for a penalty.

“If we get that it’s a chance to make it 2-2 and then we would be in the ascendancy.”

The result leaves Chelsea in first place in the WSL, three points ahead of title contenders Manchester City.

Chelsea next take on Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday, January 24 at Stamford Bridge. 

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