Arsenal are a dangerous team, as proven by their win over Chelsea to kick-off the Women’s Super League this season. But Chelsea are the best in England, and they would not be intimidated by their foes.
It showed in the early minutes, with loads of pressure and intent from the Blues. The intensity would soon pay off with Arsenal fumbling in defence, letting Sam Kerr connect with Fran Kirby for the opener at Wembley.
Although Arsenal wanted to immediately answer the opener, Chelsea continued to press for more goals — as it is their usual way of playing. It was difficult for the Gunners to find many opportunities to play from the back as they wanted to, with the Blues pushing lines so far up the pitch.
While they did find their way into our penalty box, Chelsea were the ones getting the better share of chances. The “Kerrby” tandem remains on tune and on point, forcing Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger into several interventions to keep her team in contention.
Speaking of Sam Kerr, the striker was really close to adding herself to the scoreline in the first half. But her great chances were either saved by the opposing shot-stopper, or wasted due to going overboard on preciousness with her finishing.
At the end of first half, Arsenal got into overload mode trying to find the tying goal. Since Chelsea were not in their best day in terms of passing, it made things a bit more nervous to the Blues’ fans watching either at Wembley or on their screens. But at half-time, we were still in the lead.
No changes were made on either side in half-time, and Chelsea were the ones getting closest to the goal at the start of the second half. But one could easily see how Arsenal were increasingly desperate in their search for an equaliser, whereas the Blues were more than willing to sit back, defend the lead and perhaps find a second score to wrap it all up.
This second goal would come 12 minutes into the second half. With Arsenal all thrown into Chelsea’s penalty box, the ball is sent to their half with Kerr and a lone defender on her side to defend it. She easily clears it out of her marker, and then finishes the ball with enough precision and power to beat Zinsberger — the player who had been able to keep the Gunners in this challenge almost all by herself.
Kirby almost got a brace before her exit, with manager Emma Hayes reminding us how loaded we are in talent by bringing Pernille Harder in her place. The Danish attacker almost got herself in the scoresheet only a couple of minutes after her entrance, being stopped only by Zinsberger.
A two-goal lead might have been enough to secure the trophy. But why not make it three? That was what Sam Kerr did with an incredible dink over Zinsberger, to settle it once and for all.
- A strong lineup for such an important occasion. Could not expect anything different.
- Subs are Pernille Harder for Fran Kirby, Beth England for Sam Kerr, Ji So-yun for Melanie Leupolz, Drew Spence for Guro Reiten, and Aniek Nouwen for Sophie Ingle.
- Fran Kirby is so good at what she does!
- Cherish Sam Kerr.
- Erin Cuthbert’s defensive work is so underrated.
- Almost 41,000 attendees at Wembley today. Amazing.
- Next up: Juventus at Kingsmeadow in the Champions League group stage.