'I've never been to Wembley and not won a trophy!' - Sam Kerr's 10 biggest Chelsea moments
Ahead of the 2022-23 Women's FA Cup final, Sam Kerr faced the media. The Aussie has described the venue as her favourite, and when she was asked what she loves about it, her answer summed up the success she and the club have enjoyed since she first pulled on Chelsea colours in early 2020.
"That every time I go there it’s for a trophy," she replied. "I never have to visit otherwise. I think that’s exactly it. It’s a big-game stadium. You don’t go there to play any other game other than for a trophy. I’ve never been there and not won a trophy. Fingers crossed this weekend is the same."
But Kerr doesn't just turn up to Wembley and win. She thrives. The forward has scored five goals in four visits, winning three FA Cup titles and one Community Shield.
That knack for popping up in the perfect moment doesn't just apply to England's national stadium, either. It's relevant to most big games and moments, whether it's a huge occasion like the Women’s FA Cup final or a cold night in Walsall when Chelsea must win.
Kerr's record since she arrived in England showcases that. The 29-year-old has scored 10 goals in seven domestic finals and in six in succession, collected two Women's Super League Golden Boot awards and helped the club to win nine major honours in just over three years.
But which have been Kerr's biggest moments in Chelsea blue? GOAL takes a look...
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Hat-trick in the 2021 Conti Cup final
It was in Kerr's second final for Chelsea, back in March 2021, that we got a real look at the big-game player she was going to become for this team.
The Blues were facing a Bristol City side whose journey to the showpiece event was incredible - the Robins would be relegated at the end of the season - but they were put to the sword at Vicarage Road. With only nine minutes on the clock, Kerr was played in by Fran Kirby for her second of the day, prompting the Aussie to pull out her famous backflip celebration for the first time for the club.
“I’m shaking my head because I’ve waited 12 months for that,” manager Emma Hayes said after the game. “She could’ve given me a heads up!"
Kerr ended the day with a hat-trick, two assists and her second Continental Cup title. Not a bad day’s work!
Breaking the deadlock against Wolfsburg
Chelsea do not like playing Wolfsburg. The two-time European champions have been a bogey team for the Blues in their bid to add a Women’s Champions League title to their bulging trophy cabinet, with their first six meetings resulting in one draw and five defeats.
In March 2021, the pair met again in the quarter-finals - and Wolfsburg proceeded to pepper the Chelsea goal. Goal-line clearances, big Ann-Katrin Berger saves and the woodwork kept the German side at bay and then, with less than an hour on the clock, came the sucker punch.
A lovely Chelsea move saw Kirby’s sweeping pass find Kerr, who rounded Katarzyna Kiedrzynek and finished emphatically from a tight angle. It set her team on their way to a 2-1 result, a first ever win over Wolfsburg and a place in the semi-finals, with her also on the scoresheet in the second leg a week later.
FA Cup final double vs Arsenal
Arsenal just couldn't handle Kerr in the 2021 Women's FA Cup final. The striker caused the Gunners' centre-backs problems all game, including in the build-up to Kirby's opener on three minutes.
She forced a great save out of Manuela Zinsberger and hit the crossbar before half-time, then, after the break, she got her goals. A clever finish went through the legs of Lotte Wubben-Moy and wrong-footed the goalkeeper to make it 2-0, while her second of the day mesmerised Wembley Stadium.
Breaking down the right on the counter, Kerr strode into the box and, just as Zinsberger was coming out to meet her, the striker scooped the ball over her opponent to seal the win. Her reaction suggested she’d impressed even herself.
Title-deciding contributions in Man City draw
When Chelsea visited Manchester City in April 2021, it felt like a title decider. The Blues were two points clear of their hosts and, after their meeting, there would be just two games left. It was a big game - cue Kerr. At what has proved a difficult ground for Chelsea, the forward was absolutely brilliant.
With 25 minutes on the clock, her good work won a corner that she'd rise highest to head home, breaking the deadlock. City pegged their visitors back a few minutes later, but Kerr picked up the ball again, put it through the legs of opposing defender Alex Greenwood and forced goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck to make a challenge that resulted in a penalty, which Pernille Harder tucked away.
Lauren Hemp's second-half goal did mean the spoils were shared, but the draw wasn't much use for City, who really needed to win this game. Thanks to Kerr's stand-out display - and a very memorable save from Berger at the death - they didn't. A few weeks later, Chelsea would lift another WSL title.
"I thought she was the difference tonight for us," Hayes said afterwards. "She’s relentless. A wonderful athlete, a wonderful human. She delivered the biggest moments for the team when it mattered and she’s doing it time and time again."
Last-minute mayhem versus Villa
The week commencing March 7, 2022, was a defining one in the history of Chelsea Football Club. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the British government sanctioned owner Roman Abramovich and he would sell the club.
It was a situation that brought with it so many questions and, given the unprecedented circumstances, few immediate answers. It made for an intense and dramatic time.
That much was evident when Chelsea’s women’s team played that weekend, at home to Aston Villa. The Blues needed to win to keep up with WSL leaders Arsenal, but as the game entered stoppage time, the scores remained goalless. And then up popped Kerr.
Unreal. @SamKerr1 is unreal. 🔥#CFCW pic.twitter.com/MtWLtpr9aW— (C)helsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) March 13, 2022
Zecira Musovic's long ball bounced over the defenders and the Aussie pounced, off balance as she nudged the ball into the back of the net and won the game. The emotion from all was evident. Kerr took off her shirt and waved it around in the air as her team-mates chased after her, sheer jubilation on their faces. She ran towards the sideline and was greeted by not only the substitutes, but also by an incredulous Hayes.
“I felt a release in my own emotion,” the manager said. “I nearly lifted Sam Kerr up. I’m human and it’s been hard. We need to lean on each other and we did.”
Her 50th Chelsea goal, Kerr’s strike came in a huge moment for the club, the circumstances of which are impossible to replicate. At the same time, though, it was also an example of something that has become normal for the striker – winning games at the death.
When the Blues appear destined to be shut out, she has made a habit of ensuring that is not the case. She’s a player for the biggest of occasions - but also the tensest of them.
A title-winning double against Man Utd
Kerr’s two best goals in a Chelsea shirt may well be the two she scored on the final day of the 2021-22 season, when the Blues needed to beat Manchester United to ensure they were crowned champions of England.
One point clear of Arsenal when the day began, Hayes side had the tougher final fixture, and it showed when they went in at half-time 2-1 down.
But Kerr came flying out of the blocks to score within a minute of the restart, firing a vicious volley past Mary Earps to level things up. Five minutes later, Guro Reiten put the hosts ahead, and then Kerr made sure of it all.
Reiten headed the ball towards the Aussie at a difficult height, but she controlled it on her chest, swivelled and lifted the ball into net, first time, from 25 yards out. Chelsea had done it.
After the game, Kerr was asked where the brace ranked among her best goals. Her answer summed up why she is such a great goal-scorer: "Obviously they are up there,” she replied. “But the best goals for me are the ones that mean the most so, believe it or not, the Villa goal, to me, is more important.
“When everyone asks me, 'What's your favourite goal of the season?' I always say the easiest one, because that's the most important thing for me, scoring goals and making sure the team is at the top of the table when the season ends.”
Downing Man City in the FA Cup final
A few days after that title triumph, Kerr would get to enjoy another trip to her favourite place: Wembley. Chelsea took on Man City in the 2022 Women’s FA Cup final and it was certainly a game to remember.
The match’s opener showcased Kerr’s goal-poaching qualities, with her right on the goal-line to make sure Millie Bright’s looping cross went into the back of the net.
Momentum swung throughout the match, via Hemp's superb equaliser, Erin Cuthbert's unbelievable strike and, just when it looked like that would be the winner, City sub Hayley Raso's equaliser at the death.
It'd be extra-time, then, an incredibly high pressure 30 minutes in which no one wants to make a mistake and everyone dreams of being the hero. Kerr would be the latter, anticipating misjudgement of the ball by the City defence, breaking down the right and, with the aid of a deflection, beating Roebuck for the second time to win the FA Cup.
Lifting Chelsea past Man Utd
This season’s WSL title race has been an epic one, and Kerr has made her fair share of contributions along the way so far.
One of her biggest came back in March, when Chelsea hosted league leaders Manchester United. The Blues had got the better of the Red Devils at Leigh back in November, Kerr scoring and assisting in a 3-1 win, and she would continue her excellent record against them again at Kingsmeadow.
Watch it. Enjoy it. 😍 pic.twitter.com/xVOrf1XWAc— (C)helsea FC Women (@ChelseaFCW) March 12, 2023
There was only one goal in this game, but it was a truly excellent one. Lauren James, formerly of United, played a perfect ball over the top for Kerr and she made no mistake, lobbing Earps brilliantly.
It took Chelsea to the top of the table and, though United would get that place back as the Blues racked up games in hand during their European adventure, made them the favourites in the title race. That's a status they've held ever since.
Sending Chelsea to Wembley again
Why are Chelsea in this final on Sunday? Well, there’s a list of reasons, of course, but the goal that got them here was, shockingly, scored by Kerr.
The Blues struggled to find their rhythm as they faced a very good Aston Villa team in the semi-finals, one that defended admirably as they played in the last four for the first time. Yet, that made it feel even more like a game where their No.20 would pop up in the right moment. Just before the hour, that’s exactly what she did, nodding in Reiten’s cross for a goal that would win the game.
“I’d rather have the most efficient player in the world than someone who has a million chances. She’s just unbelievable,” Hayes said. “I don’t know a striker in world football that can do what she does. She’s the best.”
Crushing Man Utd's FA Cup final dreams
Kerr's remarkable Wembley record was kept up in the 2022-23 Women's FA Cup final, as her second half strike decided the destination of the trophy.
Chelsea had struggled in the first half, with Manchester United creating more and dominating proceedings while the Blues' star striker barely had a sniff.
But Pernille Harder soon came off the bench to make a real impact and it was her link-up with Kerr just over 20 minutes from time that proved decisive, with the Aussie's run into the box untracked and her finish composed as ever.
It sealed Chelsea's third successive Women's FA Cup final and kept up her flawless success rate at the iconic venue.