Arsenal Ladies got their season off to a flying start with a 2-0 win at Premier League newcomers Chelsea.

Ciara Grant fired Vic Akers' side ahead from the penalty spot after only nine minutes and Jayne Ludlow doubled the advantage just before the break.

The home team were an unknown quantity for the Gunners as they had not played top flight football for years and would undoubtedly be eager to impress after their title success last year.

Ludlow continued upfront with Lianne Sanderson in the absence of Julie Fleeting. Academy graduate Gemma Davison got her first Premier League start while Rachel McArthur made her league debut for Arsenal.

Arsenal dominated the first half and were quickly rewarded for their efforts. Anita Asante picked up the ball on the left wing and brought it through the midfield. After a deflection from a defender the ball fell for the Chelsea keeper to clear.

However, her clearance was poor and fell invitingly for McArthur to hit. She struck it sweetly but it rattled off of the crossbar before falling to Sanderson. The young striker was barged off of the ball before she could try her luck and the referee pointed to the spot. Grant stepped up and made no mistake, giving Arsenal a well-deserved lead.

Ludlow went close with her head a few times and should have increased the lead, but she made amends in the 43rd minute. Grant slid a ball through from midfield and Ludlow raced on to it before slotting home.

Chelsea stepped up a gear in the second half, creating a few chances of their own. Arsenal slipped back into cruise control, taking their foot off of the pedal a little. But the Ladies held out to get their title defence off to a winning start.

 

Leanne Champ offers a challenge

Leanne Champ offers a challenge

Chelsea's Emma Delves

Chelsea's Emma Delves


Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 14 Aug 2005