Arsenal 4-1 Chelsea: Gunners stun title rivals Chelsea in front of record WSL crowd

Arsenal put in a brilliant display in front of a record crowd at Emirates Stadium to record a humbling victory over champions Chelsea, ensuring the defence of their Women’s Super League title will not be an easy one.

The Gunners are now level on points with the leaders, who are ahead only on goal difference following their first league defeat of the season in front of 59,042 people – a new WSL record.

England forward Beth Mead gave Arsenal the perfect start when she fired in the opener after just eight minutes but Chelsea responded against the run of play to equalise through Johanna Rytting-Kaneryd.

Chelsea’s goal did little to kick them into gear and instead ignited even more energy from Arsenal, who went on to dominate the first half and saw out their victory after the break.

Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger failed to make contact when she came out to collect a corner and left Amanda Ilestedt with an open goal for Arsenal’s second, and the Gunners were 3-1 up at half-time thanks to a cool Alessia Russo finish.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes was visibly frustrated throughout and made three changes at half-time, as well as a formation switch, in an attempt to turn things around.

But while it slowed some of Arsenal’s momentum, Chelsea never really looked like getting back into the game and Russo confirmed the three points were staying in north London when she added a fourth goal from the penalty spot.

Gunners show title credentials in abundance

Any suggestion that Chelsea were going to run away with the league this season was quickly silenced as Arsenal turned up full of aggression and intent at Emirates Stadium.

They put Chelsea on the back foot immediately and visiting manager Hayes spent the majority of the first half flapping her arms in frustration and in deep conversation with defenders Jess Carter and Niamh Charles.

She unleashed her frustration on England forward Lauren James when Arsenal were once again allowed too much space on the right in the first half. James herself could not hide her emotions when she stood on Arsenal’s Lia Walti after giving away a free-kick in the second half and was fortunate to avoid a red card.

Arsenal striker Russo was a constant threat, making dangerous runs in behind and linking with midfielders Kim Little and Walti – the Switzerland captain providing an exquisite through ball for Russo’s first goal shortly before half-time.

The Gunners could have added to their tally late on as Chelsea piled numbers forward in an attempt to come away with something vaguely positive and gaps opened up at both ends.

But there was no question as to who was the better side and in this form, Arsenal are more than capable of winning the WSL title. However, there are not many occasions when Chelsea’s level drops as low as it did here.


Arsenal Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 15McCabeBooked at 54mins
  • 28Ilestedt
  • 3Wubben-Moy
  • 7CatleySubstituted forMaritzat 76′minutesBooked at 82mins
  • 21PelovaBooked at 87minsSubstituted forCooney-Crossat 90+3′minutes
  • 13Wälti
  • 9MeadSubstituted forLacasseat 75′minutes
  • 10LittleSubstituted forMaanumat 61′minutesBooked at 84mins
  • 19FoordBooked at 56mins
  • 23RussoSubstituted forBlacksteniusat 76′minutes


  • 5Beattie
  • 11Miedema
  • 12Maanum
  • 14D’Angelo
  • 16Maritz
  • 24Lacasse
  • 25Blackstenius
  • 27Codina
  • 32Cooney-Cross

Chelsea Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 30Berger
  • 15PérissetSubstituted forLawrenceat 45′minutes
  • 18MjeldeSubstituted forBuchananat 45′minutes
  • 7Carter
  • 21Charles
  • 6NüskenSubstituted forKirbyat 45′minutes
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 19Rytting KanerydSubstituted forReitenat 64′minutes
  • 17Fleming
  • 10JamesBooked at 70minsSubstituted forFishelat 75′minutes
  • 20Kerr


  • 1Musovic
  • 2Fishel
  • 5Ingle
  • 11Reiten
  • 12Lawrence
  • 14Kirby
  • 24Hampton
  • 26Buchanan
  • 33Beever-Jones

Rebecca Welch


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