This evening, Arsenal make a short trip across London to Kingsmeadow, where Chelsea will host another Women’s Super League London Derby.
The home side will certainly be looking to bounce back after their record-breaking 33 match unbeaten run came to an end at the weekend, following a 2-1 defeat to Brighton at home.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are still waiting for their first win of 2021 after suffering defeat at the hands of Manchester City on Sunday.
This is a must-win game for Joe Montemurro and his team if they want to keep the top three in their sights. However, it will be a tough 90-minutes for Arsenal, who are without key players such as Kim Little, Jennifer Beattie and Caitlin Foord.
Current league holders Chelsea have recently climbed up to the top of the table and are level on points with Manchester United with a single game in hand. Blues manager Emma Hayes certainly wants to extend their lead in a bid to retain the title, but knows that their clash with Arsenal will not be an easy one, in her pre-match press conference she said: “I will expect an Arsenal team that is hungry, they know they have to win the game, they are extremely aggressive and they are extremely direct and they have got attacking qualities to carve open any team.”
Emillia Hawkins takes you through all the action as it happens.
Chelsea Starting XI: Ann-Katrin Berger, Millie Bright, Sophie Ingle, Melanie Leupolz, Ji So-Yun, Fran Kirby, Magdalena Ericsson (c), Maren Mjelde, Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, Jonna Andersson.
Chelsea Substitutes: Carly Telford, Hannah Blundell, Jessica Carter, Bethany England, Guro Reiten, Jessie Flemming, Niamh Charles, Erin Cuthbert, Drew Spence.
Arsenal Starting XI: Lydia Williams, Noelle Maritz, Leah Williamson, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie McCabe, Lia Walti (c), Jill Roord, Danielle Van De Donk, Lisa Evans, Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead.
Arsenal Substitutes: Fran Stenson, Manuela Zinsberger, Malin Gut, Leonie Maier, Jordan Nobbs, Anna Patten.
1′ Chelsea get off to a very strong start as Sam Kerr wins a corner within the first 15 seconds of the game. Nothing comes of the corner and Arsenal clear the ball through a goal kick.
5′ Arsenal appear to be attempting to play the ball out from the back, which is proving a tough task as Chelsea’s high-press is pinning the gunners into their own half.
13′ The home team have their first shot on target as Ji So-Yun does well to nutmeg defender Lia Walti, sending the ball through in the direction of Fran Kirby whose shot travels into the hands of Lydia Williams.
17′ Lotte Wubben-Moy sends a very poor ball back to Williams on the edge of Arsenal’s penalty area, the goalkeeper struggles to control the ball and Kirby pounces onto the mistake, but the final shot is sent wide. The gunners are looking increasingly nervous in these opening stages.
20′ Arsenal have their first shot on goal as Vivianne Miedema drives through the blues’ defensive line before taking a low-driven shot in the direction of Ann Katrin-Berger in goal. Her teammates would’ve expected her to score there given her prolific goalscoring reputation.
22′ Melanie Leupolz is shown a yellow card following a late challenge on Beth Mead.
28′ It has taken almost half an hour but the gunners finally seem to be getting into their stride. Katie McCabe has been very impressive so far on the left when creating opportunities and opening up the Chelsea defence.Embed from Getty Images
33′ Chelsea come agonisingly close to taking the lead as Kirby’s shot heads for the bottom left corner of the goal, but Williams makes an excellent save to keep the score level.
37′ Williams makes another great block to keep Arsenal in the game as Leupolz sends the ball through to Kirby, whose first touch takes her into the penalty area. She attempts to cross the ball into a danger zone but the gunners’ goalkeeper stretches to flick the ball away.
43′ Ji is shown a yellow card following a late challenge on Danielle Van De Donk. Chelsea appear to be growing increasingly frustrated in the closing minutes of the first half.
45+2′ Arsenal claim the final shot of the first half as Van De Donk lays the ball off to Lisa Evans who makes a run into the penalty area, but her shot flies over the crossbar.
Half Time: Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal
Despite a shaky start to the match, Arsenal have grown into the game and have begun to look like the better side towards the latter stages of the half. Some Chelsea players have started to become increasingly frustrated given their early dominance, but the blues have nothing to show for it so far.Embed from Getty Images
48′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA as Ji does well to win the ball on the right and sends it into the direction of Kirby, who then lays it off to Pernille Harder whose effort flies into the bottom left corner of the goal. Emma Hayes will certainly be happy with her sides start to the half.
Chelsea 1-0 Arsenal
56′ Kerr comes inches away from doubling Chelsea’s lead as her rocket of a shot rattles the crossbar after driving through the Arsenal defence.
57′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA and it’s Harder who strikes again with another assist from Kirby. Jonna Andersson starts the move by sending the ball to Kirby in the penalty area, she then squares it across to Harder who smashes the ball into the roof of the net.
Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal
61′ Chelsea make their first substitution of the evening as Melanie Leupolz makes way for Erin Cuthbert.
64′ The gunners desperately need to turn things around now if they want a chance of gaining anything from this game, but the blues are doing very well to prevent them from escaping their own half.
71′ Arsenal are beginning to put more pressure onto the blues, and create their first opportunity of the half as Evans finds Mead in the penalty area, but her shot is sent straight into the hands of Berger.
74′ Chelsea make their second substitution of the evening as Bethany England replaces Ji So-Yun.
76′ Arsenal make their first substitution of the game as Jordan Nobbs returns from injury to replace Noelle Maritz.
80′ Arsenal have a free kick on the edge of Chelsea’s penalty area. Mead taps it to McCabe who shoots first time, her effort deflects off of Harder and heads towards the bottom left corner, but Berger makes a brilliant save to keep it out.
81′ Chelsea make their final substitution of the evening as Guro Reiten replaces Sam Kerr.
89′ Frustrations are starting to mount for Arsenal as Leah Williamson is shown a yellow card for a challenge on Guro Reiten.
90′ GOAL FOR CHELSEA as Kirby does extremely well to drive into space and past Walti in defence before slotting the ball past Williams with ease.
Full Time: Chelsea 3-0 Arsenal
Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the table following a dominant performance against an Arsenal side who were below-par for the majority of the game. Meanwhile, the gunners are still yet to record a win in 2021 and are beginning to lose sight of the top three and a place in next season’s Champions League.Embed from Getty Images
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