Match summary: Chelsea Women win the London derby
Chelsea faced Arsenal on Wednesday evening at Kingsmeadow.
The London Derby had all the hype and both teams had a lot to prove in this match. Arsenal players were determined to improve their poor performance against the top teams, while Chelsea players wanted to ensure that Sunday's defeat to Brighton was just a blip. Last weekend, Brighton & Hove Albion made a huge shock by beating the leaders of the league 2: 1. The phenomenal streak of The Blues who were unbeaten in the league for 33 games came to an end. For Emma Hayes' side, this is the first home defeat since March 2019. On the other hand, the Arsenal players had to recognize the superiority of Manchester City on the weekend, so in Wednesday's London derby both teams had a point to prove. Taking into account the current position of both teams in the league table and the balance of the last five direct matches, the favorites of the duel were the home team. In the last five games against Chelsea, The Gunners recognized the superiority of their rivals four times, and the teams shared the points once. In the history of the duels between these teams, Arsenal managed to win just two of the fourteen games against The Blues. The stake on Wednesday's derby game was huge. The defeat at Kingsmeadow would make things even more complicated for Joe Montemurro's side. If Arsenal wanted to end in top 3 of the league at the end of the season and play in the next edition of the UEFA Women's Champions League, they can’t let allow any more mistakes. Arsenal were under the pump than Chelsea and the players were tasked with a difficult work considering the recent results between the two sides.
Chelsea started to attack quickly and began to storm Arsenal's goal from the very first seconds of the game. In the 2nd min Maren Mjelde sent a dangerous cross in the penalty box from the right wing. The ball was headed by Pernille Harder, but the shot by Danish international flew high above Arsenal’s crossbar. Chelsea used high pressure from the very beginning of the match which resulted into Arsenal having big trouble with getting any closer to the goal guarded by The Blues goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger. In the first fifteen minutes. Arsenal played quite static and without much idea to break the defense of the home team. The screams of the Arsenal coach could be heard from the sideline. Joe Montemurro encouraged his players to accelerate the pace of the game, constantly repeating one word “quick, quick, quick".
The visitors team began to gradually grow into the game. A great opportunity for The Gunners came in 20th min as Miedema dribbled between Bright and Eriksson. The Arsenal forward fired a shot from the left foot, but Berger made a good save in the goal. The visitors dominated the possession of the ball in next ten minutes. There was little that came of it, but Arsenal began to grow into the game more and more. After thirty minutes, Chelsea took the initiative again. In the 32nd minute, Kirby took a shot, the ball was going straight into the lower right corner, but Lydia Williams saved her team from conceding. Just before the break after the team action, Lisa Evans faced the chance to give her team the lead in London derby. But the Scot struck the ball over the bar. The result has not changed in this part of the game an at Kingsmeadow we had a goalless draw.
Chelsea took the lead three minutes into the second half. The team recovered the ball, Pernille Harder received it in the center of the pitch. Danish striker took a flat, precise shot and put the ball in the back of the net.
Soon after, Kerr could have doubled the lead, but she lost one vs one dual against Lydia Williams. Arsenal could speak of great luck that things didn’t get even more complicated for them. But Chelsea followed the blow and in the 58th minute the leaders of the league table managed to double their lead. Again it was Harder who entered the goalscorer list. Pernille Harder received a pass in the penalty area and quickly faired an undefended shot, putting the ball right below the crossbar of the goal.
In the London derby at Kingsmeadow, the home team was leading 2-0. After conceding the second goal, Arsenal put some pressure on The Blues, but there was still a lack of dynamism in the offensive actions. On the other hand, Chelsea did well in the defense and Arsenal struggled to find gaps in Chelsea's tight defensive formation. Chelsea added another late-game goal in the 89th minute of the London derby. Fran Kirby found herself in a one-on-one situation with Lydia Williams and kept her cool until the very end, placing the ball in the net right next to The Gunners’ goalkeeper.
Chelsea beat Arsenal convincingly to record a very important three points in the Derby match at Kingsmeadow. Arsenal lost a very important game and are currently 12 points behind the leader Chelsea. The Gunners' fans have reason to be concerned. It seems that the margin of errors have already been exhausted and if Joe Montemurro's team wants to come from this sitution completely unscathed, they can no longer afford to lose points in the next games. And most of all, the team have to find a recipe for failure in matches with top league teams.