Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea: Blues sink on opening day

Defending champions Chelsea crashed to a controversial defeat against Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal at the Emirates. A crowd of 8,000 saw the Gunners triumph against Emma Hayes’ side as Beth Mead’s brace ensured it finished Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea.

Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea Final Score

Team News

Emma Hayes surprised fans by starting with a new 3-4-3 formation. Ann-Katrin Berger was in the net, with Jess Carter, Millie Bright and captain Magda Eriksson in front of her. Niamh Charles and Guro Reiten started as wingbacks. Ji So-Yun and Melanie Leupolz were in the engine room, behind a front 3 of Erin Cuthbert, Beth England and Pernille Harder. Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby and Sophie Ingle were the surprise names on the bench. 

1st Half

Arsenal broke the deadlock nearly 15 minutes in. A clever pass from McCabe released Viv Miedema who twisted Carter inside and out. Her low strike crept past Berger, who would have been disappointed.

Chelsea rallied and equalised just before half-time. Melanie Leupolz’s precise cut-back found Erin Cuthbert who finished well inside the area. This left the match all square and finely poised at half-time.

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2nd Half

Chelsea came out strongly in the second half eager to push on, and they nearly took the lead. Guro Reiten’s cross-come-shot clipped the crossbar with Zinsberger stranded. The Blues were punished moments later, however.

A fast Arsenal break saw Miedema slip a brilliant pass through to Mead. The English attacker raced past Bright and Eriksson, before curling expertly into the right corner. She nearly grabbed a second minutes later, but Berger denied her well. 

Chelsea’s cavalry of Kirby, Kerr and Ingle replaced Leupolz, Charles and England. However, Arsenal scored a 3rd moments later in highly controversial fashion. 

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Miedema combined with Iwabuchi who played in Beth Mead. She rounded the keeper and stroked into the empty net. However, Mead was several yards offside. It was a horrendous officiating mistake. 

It was Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea shortly after. Erin Cuthbert’s precise cross found Pernille Harder who headed home expertly. 

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Chelsea had chances to equalise as the time ticked away. First Kerr headed over, before the Australian saw efforts saved by Zinsberger and blocked brilliantly by Leah Williamson. It ended Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea. 

Full Time: Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea

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Final Thoughts: Arsenal 3-2 Chelsea

A disappointing day for the Blues, punctuated by poor refereeing and silly mistakes. They’ll start the season on the back foot.

The Champions will instead look to bounce back at home to Everton next week.

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