Magdalena Eriksson of Chelsea (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)
In what could be one of the biggest upsets in women’s football this season, the Chelsea Women and Emma Hayes have to figure out a way to put this moment of defeat against Liverpool behind them as quickly as possible.
Since the beginning of the Hayes era at Chelsea, the Blues have consistently possessed world-class leaders who have helped get the most out of the team during the darkest times. One bump in the road has not stopped CFC in the past, and the Blues’ Swedish captain, Magdalena Eriksson has been at the center of all of it. Katie Chapman and Karen Carney were just two of Hayes’ players that donned the captain’s armband between the white lines.
Since the start of the 2019/20 season, Eriksson has been the leading voice on and off the field for the Blues, showing everyone what it is like to be a true professional no matter what the scoreboard says at the end of the day. Since she walked onto the field in the middle of the 2018/19 season against Bristol City with her name having the “C” officially next to her name on the scoresheet, Chelsea has lost just six games in all competitions.
Eriksson has guided the Blues to their first-ever league cup, through multiple nail-biting Champions League fixtures. But, most importantly, kept the attitude up and everyone in check when the result did not favor Chelsea.
After the Blues lost their second straight season opener this past weekend, Eriksson reflected on the contest and looked ahead to the next one, stating
“Frustrating match for us, obviously, we got a good start, an early goal, and were playing well in the first half, controlling the game. I think we did control the game the whole game but we didn’t create as much as we would have wanted going forward, and we just were not clinical in the back…We are going to have to look at this game and evaluate, and push even harder this week…It just wasn’t our day today, and we just have to take a hard look at ourselves, develop and go again next weekend.”
“We can’t change what we have done, we can only change how we handle this moving forward, and we definitely look forward to coming back to Kingsmeadow, and playing in front of our fans…All we can do now is look forward to that game, and get better.”
The Blues have never lost a Women’s Super League title with Eriksson as the team’s full-time captain. Through the way she communicates on the pitch, putting the plan that Hayes has in her head into motion, Eriksson is the perfect experienced leader that Chelsea needs in order to rebound from another controversial opening loss to kick off its league campaign. Just like Cesar Azpilcueta on the men’s team, Eriksson wears the captain’s armband with honor, making a promise that every time they walk out on the pitch, they are going to give everything they have for the badge on their chest.
It is not only the statistics, while she continues to put up quality numbers on the defensive end, but Eriksson is also the steering wheel of the Blues’ success during her tenure as captain. Her words after the match against the Reds are just a glimpse into the kind of person Eriksson is, incredibly humble, passionate, and positive in moments where the team around her needs to hear it the most. She is honest when she has to be and always has the mindset of finding the next goal, or the next win. While the Swedish international continues to try to find success with her national team on the highest stage, Eriksson has been the rock for her club team, finishing in the top five in minutes played on the Blues in every season since she arrived from Linkopings in the summer of 2017.
Eriksson’s contract expires at the conclusion of the season, and if Hayes wants to add even more success to her storybook legacy at CFC, another extension for the 29-year-old defender should be one of the priorities. The fact that she has been captain of this football club since the beginning of September 2019 shows how she and all the triumphs at Chelsea are essentially synonymous with one another.
Last season, the Blues lost a devastating contest on the road to Arsenal 3-2 to begin what would end up being a successful campaign. Going out each day with the desire for winning after the idea has become a habit is a difficult thing to do. Eriksson is never satisfied, continuing to lead by example, and showing the entire football world what it means to find a goal, and ultimately carry through with it.