Chelsea thrashed Arsenal 3-1 in the London Derby yesterday at Stamford Bridge.

A team plagued by injury, Chelsea, despite their position on top of the table, were not favourites to win going into last night’s game.

With Millie Bright, Mayra Ramirez and Nathalie Bjorn just a few of the names out on injury, and doubts about Lauren James’s fitness following illness earlier in the week, it was looking worrying for the Blues.

In the end, James was confirmed as well enough to play, much to the relief of Chelsea fans everywhere and Niamh Charles stepped into the role of skipper in Kerr and Bright’s absence.

Jonas Eidevall’s side featured Stina Blackstenius in the starting front line, following her impressive Conti-Cup hat-trick last week and Kim Little back captaining the team.

After announcing her pregnancy on Wednesday, Amanda Ilestedt’s name was absent from the line-up, replaced with 17-year-old Katie Reid who was recalled from Watford in February.

Kick off was delayed for 30 minutes due to a kit clash, Arsenal bringing white socks and Chelsea wearing the same, which is against footballing law.

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The Gunners appeared on the pitch with black socks on from the Chelsea megastore with tape over the Nike logo, being an Adidas sponsored club.

Speaking about the sock mishap, Erin Cuthbert said: “We were quite frustrated, we’d been waiting to play the game for a while, and we were quite fired up.”

Chelsea came out with an intense press that stifled Arsenal’s defence, putting the pressure on in the early minutes of the game.

This manifested itself in James’s goal in the 15th minute from a perfectly timed, direct pass from Reiten.

Catley and Wubben-Moy were too late off the mark with their poor defending leading to Zinsberger having to try and punch it off the line.

Instead, however, the ball bounced backwards into the net, giving Chelsea the lead in the first half.

It was an avoidable goal and pushed momentum in Chelsea’s favour.

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Arsenal demonstrated some really poor decision making in the box throughout, lacking the clinical finish expected from a team in third place.

In a free kick, won by Wälti, Mead sent the ball arcing over the bar, letting the chance pass the Gunners by.

They were penalised for losing the ball in the midfield yet again when Nüsken scored from just outside the box in the 21st minute, making it 2-0.

Just 11 minutes later she furthered the Blue’s lead after Arsenal’s weak back line left her open to strike again.

In true Katie McCabe fashion, the right-back got shown a yellow card for a foul on James just before half time.

Second half

Eidevall made three changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Fox for Catley, Maanum on for Pelova and Russo on for Blackstenius.

He then made a further substitution in the 57th minute, taking off Foord in favour of Lacasse.

This made little impact, Chelsea finding it all too easy to bring the ball down the left-hand side of the pitch.

Hayes made her first substitution of the match, replacing Charles with Ashley Lawrence who had just come off of international duty in the Gold Cup.

The captains armband was given to midfielder, Cuthbert and Jonas substituted Wälti for Kyra Cooney-Cross in a bid to generate some energy in his midfield.

James was replaced with Macario, who has had an impressive comeback after rupturing her ACL just under 2 years ago.

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In the 86th minute, Little fired in a ball in from the edge of the box, deflecting off of Macario and finding the back of the net, narrowing the gap.

The skipper’s second goal this season came too late in the game to swing the momentum in Arsenal’s favour and so the game ended 3-1.

In the post-match conference, Eidevall said that “It’s a poor performance from us, we didn’t reach our standards.”

This late in the season, Chelsea’s victory over Arsenal has solidified the Gunner’s position as a third-place team and no higher.

The North London club’s only hope for silverware now is a U-turn in form from either Chelsea or Manchester City.

It looks as though the only cup they are in contention for this season is the Conti-Cup, for which they must face Chelsea once again on Sunday 31 March in the final.


Featured image courtesy of wkocjan via Flickr. No changes were made to this image. License details found here

By Abby Rampling-Mott

Trainee multimedia journalist based in Preston. Abby is also a co-host on the LG Women's Football podcast.