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Match Report

Blues light up Stamford Bridge with dazzling performance under the lights

Chelsea thumped out of sorts Arsenal in 3-1 victory in front of 30,000 strong crowd

Gareth Taylor Man City_edited.jpg

Chelsea FC Women

17 March 2024


Chelsea beat London rivals Arsenal 3-1 on Friday evening at Stamford Bridge as they moved three points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Women’s Super League.  The match was played in front of 32,970 fans, a new record attendance for the Blues women’s side.

The defeat near enough ends any chance the Gunners had of claiming the title this season as they are now six points off top spot with six games remaining.

Lauren James put Chelsea ahead before Sjoeke Nusken scored twice to give them a 3-0 lead at half time.  Catarina Macario deflected into her own net for Arsenal’s consolation goal late in the game.

After a 30-minute delay to kick-off due to a clash of sock colour (Arsenal had brought the wrong ones and ended up wearing Chelsea’s change socks), the match got underway with a really good atmosphere, helped by the 6,000 visiting fans.

James had the first shot of the match in the second minute but fired well over.  The Blues had a spell of pressure in the 6th minute but the visitors defence held firm. 

Arsenal’s first effort at goal came in the 9th minute when Kim Little’s shot from inside the area was tipped wide by Hannah Hampton.   Steph Catley then saw a shot stopped by the hosts goalkeeper.

James gave Chelsea the lead in the 15th minute when after being played in by Nusken, she turned past Catley then her shot from an angle went through Manuela Zinsberger’s hands, looped in the air and into the net before Arsenal could clear the ball.

The Blues made it 2-0 in the 21st minute when Nusken got in front of Leah Williamson and diverted Erin Cuthbert’s shot in from close-range.

Beth Mead’s free kick from 25-yards went well over in the 25th minute as the Gunners looked to get back into the match. 

Nusken scored her second of the match to make it 3-0 in the 32nd minute when again she deflected a shot into the net, this time Johanna Rytting Kaneryd’s, after Chelsea had again found so much space as they attacked.

James sent an effort just over seconds after the goal as the hosts looked to extend their lead further.

Arsenal had an opportunity in the 35th minute but Hampton got to the ball before Caitlin Foord. 

The home side had the final efforts of the first half with Guro Reiten’s free kick two minutes before half time landing on the roof of the net, then James sent a curling shot over during stoppage time.

The away side made a triple change at half time, one of was Emily Fox coming on for Catley which meant Katie McCabe moved to the left side of defence.

The Gunners had the first attempts of the second half but McCabe’s long-range effort went well over.  Lotte Wubben-Moy couldn’t get enough on a corner and the ball went wide shortly after.

Chelsea had a chance came in the 54th minute but Zinsberger came off her line and made herself big to keep out Rytting Kaneryd’s shot after the Swedish international had broken through.

Half time substitute Fox was looking dangerous with some runs forward for the visitors. 

James broke clear for the Blues but was denied by Zinsberger who stopped her low shot.  The Austrian goalkeeper made another good save in the 68th minute when she kept out Rytting Kaneryd’s effort. 

Hampton seemed to be first to every ball when Arsenal attacked in the second half. That was until Arsenal got a goal back in the 86th minute when Little’s shot from the edge of the area was deflected into the corner of her own net by Macario.

Hampton saved a low shot from Alessia Russo in the final minute of the 90.  In additional time, Frida Maanum’s dipping effort went over. 

The final chance of the match went to Chelsea but Zinsberger, who helped keep the score down during the second period, kept out a low Ashley Lawrence effort with her feet. 

When speaking to the media after the match, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said she wanted a performance after letting ourselves down at the Emirates and the Blues were aggressive. 

She thought James had tremendous game adding that “it is a playground for her out there, she is a maverick, not always perfect or consistent but she 1000% performs at Stamford Bridge”. 

Hayes loved there was a big crowd, loves rivalries and the away section and feels it improves the product.  

She added that everyone is invested in what we are doing and it was a “tremendous performance” and they played with joy and freedom and carried the weight of the crowd.

The Chelsea manager was full of praise for Nusken, who “deserves credit for being in right place at right time” and feels Eve Perisset’s performance should be talked up.  Hampton also got a lot of compliments for the Blues boss.

Hayes concluded by saying they “do well in adverse situations and is proud of whole squad”. 

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall was disappointed with how they let Chelsea play and didn’t deal with James, especially in the first half. 

He thought they turned over the ball too much in the first half and it wasn’t good enough from them to turn over the ball that much.

He also felt the Gunners were too weak in defensive performance and didn’t deal well enough with the physical side of Chelsea. 

Eidevall added the result has nothing to do with referee or delay in start of match, which was the same for both teams, and “we take full accountability for our performance because it was not good enough”.


Line ups

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Hampton, Perisset, Buchanan, Carter, Charles (c) (Lawrence 70’), Cuthbert, Leupolz, Rytting Kaneryd, Nusken, Reiten, James (Macario 83’)

Unused substitutes: Musovic, Ingle, Kirby, Hamano, Cankovic, Beever-Jones

Goal – James 15’, Nusken 21’, 32’

Booked - Hampton


Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Zinsberger, McCabe, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Catley (Fox 46’), Walti (Cooney-Cross 72’), Pelova (Maanum 46’), Mead, Little (c), Foord (Lacasse 57’), Blackstenius (Russo 46’)

Unused substitutes: D’Angelo, Bouhaddi, Codina, Reid

Goal – Macario (o.g.) 86’

Booked – McCabe, Lacasse


Referee – Rebecca Welsh

Attendance – 32,970



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