Arsenal’s winless run against Chelsea looked to be over, after Beth Mead put Arsenal ahead in the 86th minute. In the first minute of extra time, though, Pernille Harder’s cross took a deflection off of a sliding Lotte Wubben-Moy, and floated over the head of Manuela Zinsberger, who should’ve done better. A draw was probably a fair result in a game that never quite sparked into life, but Arsenal will be rueful about the way Chelsea equalized.
It had been, until that point, a battling performance from Arsenal’s defence. Leah Williamson and Lotte Wubben-Moy had, for the most part, kept Bethany England, Harder, and Sam Kerr in check, with Zinsberger not making a single save on the evening. In midfield, Lia Wälti was excellent at winning the ball back in vital moments, and Kim Little brought composure to Arsenal’s play, with the Gunners passing vastly improved to last week. While Chelsea had moments of high pressure, Arsenal were able to play out, with the fullbacks getting the ball, and then playing infield to Little and Jill Roord.
Arsenal had one moment of excellent team-play in the first half. A lovely passing move, where they went back to front, allowed Arsenal to play around Chelsea. Roord and Little combined, and Little played the ball to Miedema, who had her shot blocked. On the stroke of halftime, Arsenal pressed, and Caitlin Foord took possession. Her long range strike beat Ann-Katrin Berger, but didn’t beat the crossbar, striking it twice.
Chelsea brought on Sam Kerr in the second half, going 442, and Arsenal were immediately under the pressure. The back four, however, saw it out, and began to re-assert themselves against Chelsea’s press. While no individual was perfect—Williamson gave the ball away to England in a dangerous position, and Wubben-Moy’s header sent Kerr in—they were picked up by their teammates, with McCabe making a fantastic recovery tackle on Kerr.
Indeed, Arsenal began to look dangerous. Williamson should’ve scored with a header from a corner, and Miedema had a half chance following a McCabe’s cross. As it began to look like a 0-0 draw was on the cards, Miedema picked up possession, jinked past Millie Bright, and sent in a fantastic low cross for Mead, who couldn’t miss.
Chelsea would equalize and could’ve won it, with Kerr’s dinked finish over an indecisive Zinsberger dropping just wide of the post. In the end, though, while Arsenal’s winless run against Chelsea is now 7 games, they can take a lot of positives from a hard-earned point; one that keeps them within striking distance of Manchester United at the top of the table, and firmly in the title race.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Zinsberger; Maier, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe; Wälti, Little, Roord; Mead, Miedema, Foord
Substitutes not used: Williams, Van de Donk, Evans, Gut, Mace, Pearse, Garrard
Goals: Mead 86’; Wubben-Moy (OG) 90+1’