Match preview

Preview: Chelsea v Arsenal Women

Chelsea v Arsenal. May 21, 2023. Kingsmeadow

Our penultimate game of the Women's Super League season sees us travel across to West London to take on league leaders Chelsea.

Sunday afternoon will be one of the season's biggest tests for our much-depleted squad as we aim to continue our unbeaten record against the Blues under Jonas Eidevall. 

Last time around

Supporters will have fond memories from our last clash with the Blues, which saw us earn our first piece of silverware in four years. 

March’s Conti Cup Final ended 3-1 to the Gunners despite Sam Kerr giving Chelsea the lead in the opening three minutes. Stina Blackstenius swiftly brought us level and Kim Little fired us in front from the spot, with an own goal from a corner then securing the win.

Our previous meeting in the Women’s Super League nearly ended in a win as our Gunners dominated for 89 minutes at Emirates Stadium, before Kerr headed home a last minute equaliser. 

Another title for Chelsea?

Sam Kerr performs her celebratory backflip at the Women's FA Cup Final

Chelsea are currently on course to win their fourth-straight Women's Super League title. Despite losing to newly-promoted Liverpool in their opening game and trailing to Marc Skinner's Manchester United side for the majority of the season, the Blues have rallied.

Should Chelsea beat us on Sunday and United lose in the ensuing Manchester derby, they will be crowned champions. This would, however, require our first league defeat at the hands of Chelsea since Jonas Eidevall took over.

Like us, Emma Hayes and co have already picked up a trophy this campaign, narrowly beating United in the FA Cup Final earlier this month. They also reached the Champions League semi-finals, only to be knocked out by Spanish giants, Barcelona. 

What the managers say

Jonas Eidevall smiles in training at London Colney

Eidevall on Chelsea: "We'll play against a very, very strong Chelsea side. We know we need to be at our very best and give our maybe our best performance of the season in order to get the result we want.

"We need to do our very best in order to do it." - Hear more from Jonas' press conference

Hayes on us: "I think it's fair to say I don't think we've performed at our best against Arsenal, particularly in the last game.

"Arsenal have shown their spirit, their qualities, even with their injuries. They are a top team. They're deserving of all of the good stories that have come their way."

Team news

Lia Walti encourages teammates at Emirates Stadium

Lia Walti is the latest member of the squad to be sidelined through injury. Wednesday’s game with Everton saw our Swiss midfielder stretchered off with a contact injury and Jonas Eidevall confirmed her continued absence at his press conference. 

“She's out for the season for us, but the initial examination is that it's not too bad,” said Eidevall. “It's not a multiple months injury, so she should be able to recover well in time before the World Cup, which is, of course, very, very important for her as a player.

“I'm very happy for her that it wasn't more serious. I was afraid it could be so that was a relief. But unfortunately, she can't be on the pitch any more for Arsenal this season.”

Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Leah Williamson, Kim Little, and Laura Wienroither have all been ruled out for the rest of the season. 

How to watch

Frida Maanum takes on Chelsea defenders at the Conti Cup final

The action at Kingsmeadow kicks off at 12:30pm (UK time). For those following at home in the UK, live coverage on BBC Two and iPlayer begins 15 minutes before. 

Facts and stats

Katie McCabe, Noelle Maritz, Stina Blackstenius, Rafaelle and Lia Walti celebrate with the Conti Cup trophy

  • In the Women's Super League, Chelsea boss Emma Hayes has yet to beat Arsenal under Jonas Eidevall. Of our last three league meetings, we have won once (3-2 on September 5. 2021) and drawn twice
  • We have only won one of our last six away WSL games against Chelsea. Our Gunners' last win at Kingsmeadow came in 2018 with a 5-0 thrashing, courtesy of goals from Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema and Jordan Nobbs
  • In total, Chelsea have lost nine Women’s Super League matches against us, three more than they’ve lost against any other opponent
  • A win or draw on Sunday would make us the first side in the WSL to go four games in a row against Chelsea without a loss since Manchester City, who went 10 consecutive games without a loss between 2014 and 2019
  • The Blues have won all 10 WSL matches at Kingsmeadow this season. The last team in the league to do the same was Chelsea in the 19/20 campaign 
  • We are unbeaten in our last 13 London derbies in the Women’s Super League since a 3-0 away defeat to Chelsea in February 2021
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