WSL: Chelsea sock it to Arsenal in Stamford Bridge clash

Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea is challenged by Victoria Pelova
Erin Cuthbert of Chelsea is challenged by Victoria Pelova of Arsenal during their Barclays Women's Super League match at Stamford Bridge on March 15, 2024 (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

The long-awaited London Derby saw a powerful performance from Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, with a dramatic 3-1 win against Arsenal. 

Emma Hayes’ side were on the war path, seeking revenge from the 4-1 loss against the Gunners back in December, and that’s exactly what they did. Regardless of the six points between the teams and the Reds being third on the table. 

Starting XIs

Chelsea

Hampton; Périsset, Carter, Buchanan, Charles, Cuthbert, Leupolz, Kaneryd, Nüsken, Reiten, James

Arsenal

Zinsberger; McCabe, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Pelota, Wälti, Mead, Little, Foord, Blackstenius

Chelsea fire to early lead

After a delayed start due to a kit clash of socks — and the countless memes that have followed — the match kicked off with Chelsea displaying intent to dominate right from the start. The Blues launched an energetic offence that saw them register two shots on target within the opening three minutes.

Meanwhile, Arsenal found themselves under pressure, struggling to cope with Chelsea’s relentless attacks. This not only tested their defence but also dented their confidence.

In the 15th minute, Chelsea’s persistence paid off as Lauren James found the back of the net, capitalising on a deflection from Manuela Zinsberger’s attempted save. The goal sparked celebrations among the home crowd as Chelsea claimed the early lead, setting the tone for what promised to be a thrilling encounter.

Things only got worse for the Gunners when Sjoeke Nüsken was able to deflect the ball into the back of the net. Arsenal conceded via a deflection for the second time in only 21 minutes. Then, just 11 minutes later, Nüsken scored her second goal by taking advantage of Arsenal’s mistakes. 

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With an eagerness to prove her side’s ambition for redemption in the final moments of the first half, Katie McCabe was over-ambitious and earned herself a yellow card from a poorly-timed tackle against James on the edge of the box. 

In the three additional minutes added, Steph Catley went down with a knee injury after a clash with Nüsken, instantly knowing she was unable to play on. Leading to a free-kick for Chelsea, James was off target, leaving the half time score at 3-0.  

Chelsea take another title step

Jonas Eidevall’s side returned to the pitch with three substitutions and a determination to prove themselves. Emily Fox, Frida Maanum and Alessia Russo came on in replacement of Catley, Victoria Pelova and Stina Blackstenius. 

This half brought countless integral saves from Zinsberger, as well as fast and intelligent runs from Russo and Cloé Lacasse, and close crosses into the box from the Gunners. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. 

Arsenal later made a recovery in possession and asserted their dominance all before James was substituted for Catarina Macario, who scored an own goal. She brought the score up to 3-1, a score Arsenal seemingly couldn’t reach without the assistance of a Chelsea player. 

Although it was a stronger second half for the Gunners, the 3-1 win was deserved for the Chelsea side after a powerful performance throughout. 

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