Chelsea Ladies came out as victors in a topsy turvy London Derby in Kingsmeadow against Arsenal. The 3-2 victory being secured late on after Arsenal had twice equalised to peg the Blues back. Chelsea were able to dish out a first defeat to Arsenal’s new manager Joe Montemurro but he will be encouraged by the battling qualities that were on display from his side.

The first game back from the winter break was always going to be a tight affair as players from both sides shook off the rust and got back to speed. Chelsea lined up in a 3-5-2 formation as Emma Hayes looked to control the centre of the park by packing the midfield. Fran Kirby and Ramona Bachmann were the front two and Chelsea’s newest signings Anita Asante and Jonna Andersson were on the bench ready to come on and make an impact if needed. Arsenal lined up 4-3-3 with Dominique Janssen playing the holding role.

Arsenal’s recent head to head record was very positive and they took this confidence into the game and were more than a match for Chelsea. The first half ended up being one littered with chances for both sides as the teams attacked without caution. Chelsea best chance in the opening exchanges came from a magical run from Ji So-Yun as she collected the ball deep in midfield, dribbled past 3 Arsenal players before curling a shot into the far corner of the goal. The shot was saved excellently by Arsenal keeper Sari van Veenendaal. Arsenal countered with their own fantastic chance, as Vivianne Miedema clipped a shot against the woodwork. It took until the 23rd minute for the deadlock to be broken and surprisingly it came in a very scruffy manner. Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde was on hand to poke the ball in after a goalmouth scramble which saw the ball hit the post twice before squirming out to the Norwegian. The score line remained 1-0 till halftime.

The second half started with Arsenal on the front foot and applying lots of pressure to Chelsea’s backline. Lindahl had to make a fantastic save from Danielle van de Donk after a fantastic counter attack and also had to deal with other half chances. Eventually, Lindhal’s goal was breached; Vivianne Miedema connected with a cross that deflected off the Chelsea keeper before rolling in. Chelsea’s reply was instant and they went ahead again two minutes later courtesy of Ji So-Yun who had all the time in the world to control Bachmann’s cross from the right before beating the keeper. The chaos of the second half continued as a mere three minutes later Arsenal had equalised. Concentration was poor from a corner by the Chelsea defenders as they left Dominique Janssen unmarked for her to stab the ball in.

This flurry of goals set up a frenetic last half an hour of the match as both teams went in search of the winner. That winner came in the 83rd minute as new signing Jonna Andersson, who had come on to replace Gemma Davison, managed to keep the ball in play on the left and hook the ball across goal only for the unlucky Arsenal goalkeeper to parry the ball into her own net, much to the delight of the Chelsea team.

Player of the Match: Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea) – Although she did concede twice, Lindahl was the reason Chelsea didn’t lose their unbeaten domestic record as she made save after save to deny the Gunners