The points were split in London on Sunday afternoon after a late flurry of action capped what had otherwise been a cagey (and frankly unexciting) game.
The teams looked far from their best in the first half. Arsenal consistently struggled with the high press of Chelsea, finding it difficult to gain any meaningful possession. But for all their hard work without the ball, the Blues gave the ball away repeatedly and failed to put pressure on the Arsenal goal.
The best chance of the first half fell to Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord, after she cut out a sloppy backpass from Sophie Ingle. Her driven shot did something I’ve never seen before; it hit the crossbar twice, before ultimately being cleared from danger.
Shortly after halftime, Bethany England mis-hit what should have been the match opening goal after Erin Cuthbert created another turnover on the press. Unfortunately she wasn’t the only Chelsea player to miss a great chance from six yards. After Ji So-yun played a gorgeous curling ball in from the right, Pernille Harder found the ball at her feet but couldn’t place her shot.
The match really sprang to life in the final ten minutes. Millie Bright picked up a knee injury, but unsurprisingly, gritted her way through the pain. Seeing an opportunity to exploit, Vivianne Miedema finally won a contest against Bright as she burst down the left flank. Her centering cross was put on a plate for Beth Mead who finally broke the deadlock.
Still, the Blues always seem to find a way against the Gunners, and this time they did it in semi-comical fashion. Pernille Harder attempted a cross that was deflected by Lotte Wuben-Moy, before looping over the goalkeeper and into the net. And Chelsea almost walked away with full points as Sam Kerr barely missed a chipped effort before the final whistle.
- There REALLY wasn’t much to talk about in the first half prior to Foord’s double doink off the crossbar.
- Never afraid to make halftime changes when needed, Emma Hayes brought on Sam Kerr for Melanie Leupolz. Hardly a like for like but it improved the Blues play.
- The referee made some very “curious” decisions in Arsenal’s favor, particularly seeming to whistle Erin Cuthbert every time she won the ball.
- Hopefully Millie Bright hasn’t picked up a knock of any seriousness. She has played every minute for the Blues this season and had completely neutralized Miedema prior to her injury.
- The top of the WSL table stays tight, though Chelsea are best positioned, with a match in hand and superior goal difference over leaders Manchester United.
- The Blues’ next match is against London City Lionesses: 7:30pm BST, Wednesday 18 November, Princes Park