Chelsea fend off Arsenal in commanding 2-0 win

Guro Reiten of Chelsea celebrates Ann-Katrin Berger's penalty save.
Guro Reiten of Chelsea celebrates Ann-Katrin Berger's penalty save against Arsenal at Kingsmeadow on May 21, 2023. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

With the WSL title in reach, Emma Hayes’ Chelsea welcomed Arsenal to Kingsmeadow. The meeting was the fourth this season between the two sides, with both clubs having won a game alongside a 1-1 draw.

A win for Chelsea would all but secure them a third consecutive league title. Three points for Arsenal would see them become undisputed favourites to bag the third Champions League spot.

Starting XIs

Chelsea: Berger; Ingle, James, Reiten, Périsset, Eriksson (c), Mjelde, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert, Harder.

Arsenal: Zinsberger; Rafaelle, Wubben-Moy, Beattie, Maanum, McCabe (c), Maritz, Foord, Pelova, Moller, Blackstenius.

How it went

With so much resting on the result, the match initially got off to a cautious start. Despite the initial nerves, Chelsea quickly asserted their dominance over their opponents. Guro Reiten’s 22nd-minute goal gave the Blues a much-needed early lead. The cross from Périsset was slotted into the far bottom corner by the Norweigan’s first touch.

Less than 20 minutes after the first goal, the hosts were able to double their advantage. Magdalena Eriksson’s 41st-minute goal saw the Swedish international tap home Sam Kerr’s header—putting the ball beyond Zinsberger.  

The second half brought about a revitalised Arsenal side. The visitors were on top almost from the opening kick, with Ann-Katrin Berger and her side forced to defend on several occasions after a quiet first half.

A penalty awarded in the 59th minute appeared to offer the Gunners a route back into the game, but Katie McCabe’s spot kick went wide of the post.

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The hosts dominated the remainder of the game. The lack of depth in Arsenal’s squad due to injury became increasingly apparent as the second half wore on.

Tiredness within, the Gunners squad saw several defensive mistakes almost gift the hosts their third of the afternoon.

The dying minutes of the game, however, saw the visitors rally in an effort to secure their European qualification spot. A sustained period of pressure from the Gunners saw Berger forced into an excellent save to preserve her clean sheet for the afternoon. 

Up next

Chelsea will finish their league campaign with a visit to bottom-of-the-table Reading. Arsenal will play host to Carla Ward’s Aston Villa as the Gunners look to secure the third spot.

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