The goal that proves Sam Kerr as the world’s best striker

It takes a special kind of striker who predicts what they are going to do to an opposition team before a game and then follows it by to perfection. That, though, is what Sam Kerr is. She is the perfect centre forward, a human cheat code for Chelsea.

Her prophecy to team-mate Erin Cuthbert on Saturday that she would score a surprise goal in Chelsea’s title decider against Manchester United the following day was a bold one, but the Australian has the genius to back it up and duly did.

In fact, she delivered not once but twice. Her first, an equaliser, was a sweetly hit, first time volley from the edge of the area, that swerved and dipped under the crossbar. Most players would not have already attempted the shot, let alone first time with the ball dropping in the air.

But it was the second which really highlighted Kerr’s awareness, intelligence and clinical instincts. When Mary Earp’s – the Manchester United goalkeeper – clearance was headed back towards the edge of the area, Kerr already knew what she was going to do. She had seen that Earp had moved out of her six-yard box to kick the ball clear and was slightly to the left of centre 12 yards or so off her line.

In one movement, Kerr took the ball down on her chest, swivelled to get her body position at the right angle and then delicately, not powerfully, lifted a volley over the head of the retreating Earps and into the net. She was 25 yards out when she hit it and the weight on the finish, the arc of the ball, was sublime.

“She is decisive in the main moments,” said her manager Emma Hayes. “She knows she can cope with these situations and deliver when it really, really matters. Most importantly, she has joy in what she’s doing.”

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