At the first blow of the whistle at Kingsmeadow today, Chelsea immediately put Arsenal with their backs against the wall. Although the early pressure did not result in a goal, it was a good sign of things to come for the Blues in this FA Cup clash given we will be facing the Gunners again next week for a League Cup trophy.
However the opposition would wake up quite soon, with a little bit of help from our defence. A near own goal by captain Magda Eriksson to give Arsenal the lead was saved on the line by Niamh Charles, and that was the alert we needed to put them back at their place.
Lauren James is always a menace, and today was no different. She cut inside from the right wing and laid the ball to Sophie Ingle, arriving late in the box. With a slotted shot the midfielder opened the score for us in the first half.
SOPHIE INGLE! From another Lauren James assist pic.twitter.com/QaaXNm8Sru— CfcwComps (@CompsCfcw) February 26, 2023
Now behind in the scoreline, Arsenal began taking more risks with the ball. The irony is that their best chance to score following our goal came from a counter-attack, with Frida Maanum nearly finding the tying score.
Even though Arsenal had the edge on statistics at the end of the first half and Chelsea’s defence were not in the best of days, the Blues went into the second half with the confidence of title defenders more than ready to keep challengers at bay to lift the cup once again. And while Arsenal kept their high pressing to make things difficult for the Blues, they did not have the quality to turn it into proper goalscoring chances.
The Blues were otherwise, as shown by Sam Kerr.
Arsenal tried their hardest to climb back after letting Chelsea build a two-goal lead. But the hosts were unwavering in holding them out and get the visitors tired in an already lost battle in the run-up to the League Cup final against the Gunners at Wembley next weekend.
- Jelena Cankovic starts!
- Subs are Jess Carter for Ève Périsset, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Lauren James, and Jessie Fleming for Jelena Cankovic.
- An 100th appearance for Sam Kerr today!
- Lauren James is magic.
- Defence is still a problem for this Chelsea team. Good thing Ann-Katrin Berger is on her usual top form!
- Kerr gets a goal, too!
- Jelena Cankovic is class.
- Through to the quarterfinals!
- Next up: Arsenal again, but in the League Cup final at Wembley Stadium.