Arsenal will look to end their winless streak against Chelsea this evening in a Kingsmeadow London derby.
Chelsea versus Arsenal. It’s one of the most emotionally charged rivalries in the Women’s Super League. But recently it’s been a one-sided event. For more than two years, the Blues have come away with the bragging rights, leaving Arsenal players and fans alike to nurse a chip on their shoulder.
Arsenal have now gone seven games in all competitions without beating Chelsea. Their last victory was an unexpected 5-0 demolition at Kingsmeadow in October 2018. Since then, Chelsea have been kryptonite to the Gunners, counting a Conti Cup final and two ruthless 4-1 thrashings amongst their wins.
The most recent meeting between the sides was a far closer, cagier affair. Arsenal were finally rewarded in the 86th minute when a fantastic run from Vivianne Miedema set up Beth Mead for the opener. However, they were forced to settle for a draw when the ball ricocheted off Lotte Wubben-Moy to score a freak own goal on the brink of stoppage time.
Chelsea had been firing on all cylinders, but their record 33 match unbeaten league run came to a shocking end on Sunday. The Blues lost 2-1 on home soil to Brighton.
Despite an early goal from Sam Kerr and 76% possession, their usual deadly attack just didn’t click against the organised Seagulls. It was two poorly-defended corners which cost them the match.
With the top of the table as tight as it is, another loss for Chelsea would allow the winner of Friday’s Manchester derby to leapfrog them into first place.
Following a frustrating draw away at Reading, Arsenal experienced another blow to their hopes of Champions League qualification. They hosted Manchester City on Sunday and couldn’t come away with a result.
Their failure to deal with the wide threat of Chloe Kelly led to a 2-1 defeat. The loss penned another chapter in what has become a sadly familiar story for Arsenal this season.
They have secured just one point from a possible twelve in matches against the league’s top three this season. This is a record that has placed manager Joe Montemurro under increasing scrutiny.
A win for the Gunners would not only break their Chelsea curse, but take them a vital step closer to finishing in the top three; they are currently seven points behind Man City with a game in-hand.
Chelsea were without Millie Bright and first-choice ‘keeper Ann-Katrin Berger against Brighton. This was likely a case of squad rotation to deal with their punishing game schedule.
At the start of February, Emma Hayes stated that with the return of Erin Cuthbert and Jess Carter, she has no injuries in the squad.
Arsenal announced on Sunday that Jordan Nobbs, Jen Beattie and Kim Little had sustained muscle injuries during training and were absent from the squad that faced Man City.
Noelle Maritz is back in the squad and played her first minutes since October on Sunday, coming on for Katie McCabe in the 77th minute.
Steph Catley and Viktoria Schnaderbeck continue rehabilitation for injuries sustained last year.
Chelsea v Arsenal kicks off tonight at 7pm and will be streamed live on the FA Player.