The statistics tell the story, the highlights paint the picture. Sam Kerr is one of the greatest strikers of all time.
Chelsea had not been playing well. By half time, they had twice gone a goal down to Manchester United, and anything less than a win would hand the FAWSL title to Arsenal.
Across London, the Gunners were completing an excellent season, they had rebuilt almost instantly from a disappointing 2020/21 campaign and would had Steph Catley, Cailtin Foord and Lydia Williams won the league, they would have been deserved champions.
Then, Sam Kerr swung her left boot at a dropping ball and Chelsea were on their way to a third successive premiership.
No WSL side has won the league three times in a row until now. Chelsea’s run of consecutive titles has coincided with Kerr’s arrival in England.
She has claimed the Golden Boot in the past two seasons. 21 goals in 2020/21 and 20 goals as of last night have consigned a slow start to a distant memory.
She now has seven Golden Boot’s in three leagues over six years. Under different coaches, in various weather and no matter who partners her up top, Kerr dominates.
Since her Chelsea debut, The Matildas captain has scored 42 goals in the league alone, and is the first WSL player to score 20 times on consecutive seasons.
Against Manchester United, she scored two of her best.
The majority of Kerr’s work is done inside the penalty area. Almost all of her goals are scored from the right foot. With the league title on the line, Sam Kerr saw a ball spinning through the air and hit a volley so perfect it hardly seemed real.
The shot flew past Mary Earps in the Manchester United goal. It was hard and flat, leaving the England international with no chance to save it. Kerr spotted an opportunity and took a risk off her non-preferred side to change the game.
Chelsea were level now, and the momentum had swung in that moment. Guro Reiten soon had them in front after a slick two-pass buildup involving Ji So-Yun and Pernille Harder.
But Manchester United were chasing a Champions League place and had been dangerous in attack all afternoon. Chelsea needed another goal to ensure a win against a high quality opponent.
Chelsea’s squad is packed with stars. Almost every name on Emma Hayes’ team sheet is the key player in their national team. Australian fans will remember what Ji So-Yun is capable of, Pernille Harder is a UEFA Player of The Year recipient.
Jessie Fleming is an Olympic Gold Medalist and Magda Eriksson is the captain of the Sweden team that Canada resigned to silver.
Among all of these amazing talents, Kerr has been the key all season. In the 66th minute, she once again showed why.
Chelsea’s forwards had forced Earps into a hurried clearance. Reiten met it unopposed near haldf way. The Norway attacker was in space , had time and often prefers the ball at her feet. But she saw Kerr ahead, and headed it straight in her direction.
With her back to goal, Kerr controlled it on the chest and in one movement volleyed it into the net from even further out than her first.
It was 4-2 now, and the title race was effectively over.
Chelsea had the two goal cushion, they had the league title and Kerr had scored two late contenders for goal of the season.
“I actually visualize scoring crazy goals like that all the time,” she said to the media post-match
“I just thought “just try it, just have a pop.’
“I didn’t even know the keeper was out, I just thought ‘I’m going to try it.’”
Kerr scores with such alarming regularity that even long time fans have become desensitised to news that she has registered another. It is literally a bigger event when she fails to score.
She is unbothered by slow starts to games or missed opportunities. Her confidence never seems to drop and she continues to get on the end of opportunities. She might get visibly frustrated at close misses at time, but it never prevents her attempting the next one.
She can run faster, jump higher and press harder than most attackers in the world, but she in unstoppable because of her repeated efforts. She is irrepressible.
Kerr arrived in London with a huge price tag. For a time, she was the highest paid women’s player in the world and that pressure must have been immense to deal with.
She has more than lived up to those seemingly unrealistic expectations. Kerr has delivered for Chelsea in almost every game for two seasons. It is not just the volume of goals, but the timing and quality of them. In the big moments, she arrived right on time.
Kerr is typically modest about her own feats.
“I don’t score too many lefties,” was her reaction to her first goal.
“I just saw it coming and hit it. It went in and I don’t really care who scored today we won and we’re champions so it’s all good.”
However, she plays like somebody who recognizes she had the talent to decide games, and comfortably accepts that responsibility.
As importantly, she plays with passion and exuberance.
It is a privilege to watch her play football. By now we are used to it, but we must not take it for granted. We are witnessing a generational talent.
We are living in the era of one of the world’s great footballers. Sam Kerr is one of the most prolific Australian players of all time, the star of the WSL, and one of the best players on the planet.