Saturday, June 22, 2024

Chelsea Women v Arsenal Preview

Arsenal face Chelsea at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday night in a huge WSL clash in West London. The Gunners have lost on each of their last three visits to Chelsea since their 5-0 win over Emma Hayes’ side in October 2018- losing once in each domestic competition since. Montemurro’s side haven’t beaten any of their top three competitors (Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City) in 13 months, a run that spans eight games in which they have suffered seven defeats.

The only exception in that run was a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Meadow Park in November where the visitors needed a last minute Lotte Wubben-Moy own goal to take a point. Montemurro’s side are probably too far adrift of Chelsea and Manchester City in the WSL to have serious designs on anything other than third place and the final Champions League qualification spot.

Montemurro’s side are nine points behind Manchester United with two games in hand and with United due to come to Meadow Park. Their best hope of Champions League qualification is to reel United in. Casey Stoney’s side visit Manchester City on Friday evening. It is an absolutely pivotal week for Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Chelsea are shaken from having suffered their first WSL defeat in just over two years on Sunday, going down to a shock 2-1 home defeat to Brighton, who had lost all of their previous five games. Primarily, Arsenal need points but it would also be very nice for them to bury their hoodoo against the clubs around them in the table.

Arsenal will be without Jen Beattie, Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs, all of whom suffered muscular injuries in training recently. Steph Catley (hamstring) and Viki Schnaderbeck (knee) are long-term absentees and will miss this game too.

In this fixture last season, Arsenal took an early lead through Danielle van de Donk before Chelsea turned the tables in the second half thanks to goals from Beth England and Maria Thorisdottir. When the teams met in the reverse fixture in November, a late Beth Mead goal was cancelled out by a ricochet off Lotte Wubben-Moy in the dying seconds.

Chelsea’s shock defeat against Brighton brought to an end a 33 game unbeaten run in the WSL- a record since the league was rebranded in 2011 but still some way short of the top-flight record, set by Arsenal, between 2003 and 2009 when the Gunners went 108 league games without defeat. The result, coupled with United’s defeat at home to Reading, has allowed Manchester City back into the title race.

The Blues have one of the deepest squads in women’s football and have flitted between 442, 433 and 4231 during this season with a rotating cast of players. That rotation hasn’t always led to cohesive performances but they have so much individual talent that it often doesn’t really matter. And of course, they haven’t lost to Arsenal in their last seven meetings home and away. Arsenal have struggled to deal with their high pressing style.

Coach Emma Hayes said, “We have to reflect, we have to be calm about those things, everybody feels emotional after a defeat because we don’t get them that often but when they come, you have to be calm about it and put in place the right things so you rectify it. These games like Arsenal are really tough, they are even games and there is a lot at stake. I know the performance I’ll be looking for and I’ll demand that from my team.

“This is a setback but we are built to cope with the various competitions across the league and I keep reminding everyone that we’re in the Continental Cup final and we’re top of the league, we’re still in a good place and it’s important to stay positive about that.”

Beth Mead was omitted from Hege Riise’s England squad this week. When pressed on her reasons, Riise said, “The reports on her were not great.” Mead is still one of the first names on Joe Montemurro’s team sheet due to her high chance creation and her ability to win the ball back high up the pitch. Against Manchester City, she attempted ten interceptions and won three of five tackles- nobody in the Arsenal team attempted more tackles or interceptions.

Being left out of the 20-strong Lionesses squad will sting Mead, who was a regular in the starting eleven under Phil Neville. From Arsenal’s perspective, the hope will be that she will be motivated to prove Hege Riise wrong and a strong performance, backed up by a goal or an assist here- would make her case strongly.


Subs: 1.Zinsberger, 4.Patten, 17.Evans, 20.Maier, 21.Gut

The match takes place at Kingsmeadow and kicks off at 7pm on Wednesday evening. The game will be shown live on the FA Player app, which is free to download and is only geoblocked in Australia, where the game will be live on Optus Sport.

We will have match reaction from Joe Montemurro on the site on Wednesday evening, as well as the usual build-up and match reaction to Sunday’s trip to Aston Villa.

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Joe Montemurro reacts to Chelsea defeat


I think if Joe has any chance whatsoever of keeping his job beyond this summer, this is an absolute must win. Of course, we’re always going to be rooting for our girls but if history has proven anything, Joe (and the team under him) are out of their depth in matches like this. How I wish we had the opposing manager on our side.


Fact is, Chelsea and ManCity have veteran defenders and Arsenal again will start an inexperienced centerback in Wubben-Moye who, for all her potential, is going through professional growing pains. And didn’t we start Gut in a recent game against ManCity and/or Chelsea–or Gut /and/ Wubben-Moye? Nobody can be happy with a coach when the side is losing, but some of the personnel issues have to be acknowledged. Arsenal have to figure out how to spend more time in the attacking half rather than its defensive half, first, and then to be more ruthless when they get there.

Peter Story Teller

That inexperienced centre back learning her trade in the England team you mean?
Trust me, she isn’t our problem it is convincing the girls to ignore Joe’s pleas to play in our own penalty box for 70 minutes and get the ball up the other end so that we might get a chance to score!


Excaclty… Joe said after the City game, that Leah “played the ball upfield too quickly”. It is Joe’s gameplan and it gives Leah and Lotte too much to do and too much responsibility. And they have done it absolutely fine. For me Lotte has been probably most positive thing about this season, that she has slotted in so well. And still Dahlkepmer and Houghton were worst at passing, made same amount mistakes what lead to goal, than our 23 and 22 year olds. And their managers gameplan isn’t to make CB’s soley responsible for moving the ball.


Exactly what happened today, again. At what point do we stop being surprised by teams pressing us and come up with a different plan.


Unfortunate deflection aside, Lotte did an absolutely incredible job the last time we played Chelsea. I find it quite frankly absurd that she’s becoming a scapegoat for Arsenal Women fans, especially given the fact she lives and breathes Arsenal. Perhaps the atmosphere at the club that she’s come into hasn’t exactly been conducive to mature, flawless defensive performances? Perhaps Joe doesn’t have a track record of improving young players? Perhaps his tactical methods are flawed – maybe you can’t ask someone who is fresh out of college to be passing out from the back against the top teams in the… Read more »


Lotte’s a regular in the England set up, played in big pressure games in the States and was very good against Chelsea in November. We’ve lost to Chelsea with Leah and Jen playing, we’ve lost with Leah and Viki playing, we lost to City with Leah and Jen playing.


Lotte has been absolutely last of our problems. She was very good last time out against Chelsea and also she is not the reason why we lost to City, was probably our best player with Leah. We have been dominated in all big games, because our midfield and attack has not been working at all and we have still lost all the big games by very fine margins and thats only down to our CB’s being very good. And I wrote it already to ManC article, but Lotte and Leah had to do twice as much as City counterparts (passing,… Read more »


I think you can make the unlucky argument once or twice but when it’s 8-10 games in a row, it’s clearly a pattern. The lack of ruthlessness is purely a mentality thing, given what we’ve seen this team is capable of in other matches – and that is a coaching problem. The other thing I’ll say is the sheer variety in terms of difference makers Chelsea have over Arsenal. Which is not to say we don’t have good players, we do. But in terms of sheer “change the game in the moment”, Chelsea have us outmatched with their elite mentality… Read more »

Tim Stillman

I didn’t say they were unlucky, I said they weren’t ruthless enough. What you’re essentially saying there is that Chelsea have a higher volume of top players which they do and that makes sense given their budget. I am actually not all that convinced Hayes is as good as people say, I have watched Chelsea a lot this season and I think their position is down to their individuals- they have had a lot of uncohesive performances this season and then been bailed out by a piece of individual brilliance. The year we won the league they were absolutely nowhere… Read more »


Yep Chelsea is at moment getting results because of their players individual quality, but same time even if their performances are uncohesive, players absolutely believe in what they are doing/in their own quality/in their coach. In Arsenal’s case none of our players believe in any of those things. Winning mentality may be connected with budget, but at moment our “losing mentality” is down to soft factors. Lets see what happens with Joe, can he get them back, but it is interesting discussion where and why excactly our players lost faith in manager. For me Joe didn’t have faith in our… Read more »

Peter Story Teller

Agreed, “winning mentality” in sport it is a psychological thing. You see it all the time with Olympic runners, racing drivers etc. etc getting themselves in the zone before letting loose on their performance. Every game we hear Joe saying how tough it is…. If you go into a match thinking it will be tough then it will be. You need to go in thinking we are the better team and this is what we will do to win. In many ways I believe this is why Chelsea are currently successful. Emma Hayes has convinced her players that they are… Read more »


To me the two low points were Utd and Reading.


These games like Arsenal are really tough, they are even games and there is a lot at stake. I know the performance I’ll be looking for and I’ll demand that from my team.”

This is what I want from Joe. Demanding certain things from your squad. I’ve said it before, Joe isn’t tough enough. We can only hope that Beth is demanding of herself to get back with the Lionessess and puts one or two in the back of the net…

Peter Story Teller

If she played as centre forward she would but she has been forced out wide to allow Viv to occupy the centre. It would be interesting to see them roles reversed because Meado’s Sunderland stats make even Viv’s look ordinary!

Peter Story Teller

Glad to see Katie does not appear to have suffered from being kicked off the park by that other team in blue!


Nobbs fit enough to be involved with England but not Arsenal. What is going on?

Tim Stillman

England don’t play for another couple of weeks.

Peter Story Teller

And we still won’t know what Jordan’s form is like!


I haven’t been impressed with our midfield this year, they seem to have trouble controlling the game in big games like these especially. And wrt the earlier discussion, I agree that Lotte is great & not where our problems lay…


I was listening to the City game on the radio which gives a different perspective. I heard Lotte and Leah’s names a lot but it never took long before City returned to the attack. I also remember the commentator saying “Danielle van der Donk muscled off the ball by Lucy Bronze” – that just sums up our problems.


In the US, the match will be on the NBC sports app.

canon fodder

I don’t think that we should wait until the end of the season; Joe has to go now. We are the whipping girls of the league!!!


Sack the Ozzie. Such a disgrace to lose Viv this summer. Forget winning the league we might even miss out on not finishing in the European place and why would anyone still remain when there’s no European football. The appointment of Joe should have been analysed before. Not the right coach and must be sacked to save the season.

Viv the 🐐

I’m just asking on who shall be coming in? But I completlyunderstand. If the club does not react to that, AWFC should just shut down.

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