A brilliant start to the match saw Chelsea claiming an early lead against Arsenal in the League Cup final, only a minute after kick-off. Guro Reiten made a pinpoint cross to Sam Kerr at the far post, and the Australian striker got us ahead with a great header.
GURO REITEN ASSISTS WHO ELSE SAM KERR!!pic.twitter.com/sEHvr3pV8s— CfcwComps (@CompsCfcw) March 5, 2023
But from that point on Chelsea would be a mere passer-by to the match. Midfield play was non-existent from Sophie Ingle and Erin Cuthbert. Meanwhile both fullbacks, Ève Périsset and Niamh Charles, were having a torrid time defending against their Arsenal counterparts.
A tying goal for Arsenal felt like it was a matter of staying with the foot on the gas, and that is exactly what happened with Stina Blackstenius finding the Gunners’ first goal of the day.
That would hopefully wake Chelsea up, but the team was simply not playing up to their standards. And given we were playing Arsenal, they were bound to get a penalty call in their favour — which came through as Sophie Ingle clashed with Katie McCabe in the box.
Kim Little converted it from the spot and Chelsea, who already looked far out of depth, went into an even more sombre mood. McCabe herself tried to create a second penalty and ended up kicking Berger in her stomach, getting only a yellow card for the offence.
But the Arsenal attacker did not need to resort to such tactics as her team would find a third goal anyway thanks to Niamh Charles, who scored an own goal from a corner right as the first half ended.
Charles was subbed off for Melanie Leupolz at half-time, and the German midfielder tried her best to lift Chelsea out of a quagmire of their own making. But the Blues’ problems run much deeper and cannot be corrected in a match, but rather in the transfer market.
- Exact same lineup as last weekend’s, also lining up in a 4-2-3-1.
- Subs are Kadeisha Buchanan for Jelena Cankovic, Melanie Leupolz for Niamh Charles, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Sophie Ingle, and Jessie Fleming for Magda Eriksson.
- Brilliant goal only a minute from kick-off. If only that would not be followed by almost 90 minutes of Chelsea simply not knowing how to play the game...
- A really bad game from defence this first half, especially from fullbacks Niamh Charles and Ève Périsset. The former even scored an own goal.
- Captain Magda Eriksson is a legend. But if she cannot play against a high line, we cannot insist on playing her week in and out.
- For all the hype around Cankovic thanks to her displays before today’s match, she simply did not deliver.
- Erin Cuthbert also did not have a good game, being easily outhustled from the ball by Arsenal counterparts. She probably needs a few matches to rest given how often she played for the Blues thus far this season.
- Next up: Brighton home in the Women’s Super League.