Home Sports Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal: Blues thrash struggling Gunners in WSL clash at Stamford Bridge as Lauren James and Sjoeke Nusken combine in dominant Stamford Bridge affair

Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal: Blues thrash struggling Gunners in WSL clash at Stamford Bridge as Lauren James and Sjoeke Nusken combine in dominant Stamford Bridge affair

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Lauren James starred at Stamford Bridge in Chelsea Women's 3-1 victory over Arsenal.
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Arsenal had turned up at Stamford Bridge wearing the wrong color socks, causing a 30-minute delay in their top-of-the-table clash against Chelsea.

But as it turned out, the uniform clash turned out to be the least of their problems.

They were beaten convincingly by a rampant Chelsea side who showed why they have been champions four years in a row and why Arsenal haven’t.

When Lauren James broke through the Gunners defense with ease and sent a shot into the net that goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger should have stopped, it should have been a warning.

Arsenal did not pay attention. Two more goals from Sjoeke Nusken gave Chelsea a 3-0 half-time lead. They would have scored more in the second half if not for some good saves by Zinsberger. The consolation goal came from Kim Little in the 87th minute, with a nice volley from the edge of the area. Too little and too late.

Lauren James starred at Stamford Bridge in Chelsea Women's 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

Lauren James starred at Stamford Bridge in Chelsea Women’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal.

Chelsea put in a dominant performance in front of thousands of spectators at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea put in a dominant performance in front of thousands of spectators at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea put in a dominant performance in front of thousands of spectators at Stamford Bridge.

Sjoeke Nusken scored two more goals before the break to give the Blues control

Sjoeke Nusken scored two more goals before the break to give the Blues control

Sjoeke Nusken scored two more goals before the break to give the Blues control

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Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall knew his team really needed to come here and win to maintain any chance of the title. The defeat leaves them six points behind Chelsea, who reached this level at the top with Manchester City.

The Blues had been beaten 4-1 by Arsenal at the Emirates in December and lost at home to City last month.

This was Emma Hayes’ last WSL match at Stamford Bridge before leaving for the United States at the end of the season. She needed a great performance from her team and she got it. Even more impressive is the number of injured players that Hayes was unable to call up.

Sitting behind the bench were last season’s top scorer Sam Kerr, captain Millie Bright and club record signing Mayra Ramirez. That Hayes’ depleted team destroyed Arsenal with such conviction is testament to his character.

The Gunners’ night got off to a poor start before a ball was kicked when the match officials pointed out that they had brought white socks instead of red ones, meaning they clashed with Chelsea’s home shirt.

Arsenal were forced to go to Chelsea’s megastore to buy enough pairs of Chelsea away socks for their 10 outfield players and substitutes. Because Adidas was the manufacturer of the Gunners’ kit, they had to tape over the Nike sponsor on the Chelsea socks they had purchased.

Chelsea had their own tumultuous build-up to this game after Jess Carter liked a series of social media posts criticizing manager Emma Hayes for her comments about relationships with players. But any danger of a reaction on the pitch soon diminished when James scored in the 15th minute.

Nusken played against the forward and held off a challenge from Steph Catley before firing on goal. Manuela Zinsberger had a great shot, but the ball bounced behind the goalkeeper and into the net. Chelsea doubled their lead six minutes later when Nusken turned in Erin Cuthbert’s shot.

Arsenal rallied as they tried to find a way back to the top of the table.

Arsenal rallied as they tried to find a way back to the top of the table.

Arsenal rallied as they tried to find a way back to the top of the table.

The pre-match scenes dominated the build-up as Arsenal turned up wearing the wrong socks.

The pre-match scenes dominated the build-up as Arsenal turned up wearing the wrong socks.

The pre-match scenes dominated the build-up as Arsenal turned up wearing the wrong socks.

Arsenal appealed for offside, but replays showed the midfielder was level with defender Leah Williamson.

The Gunners were shocked but the worst was yet to come as Chelsea scored a fortuitous third before the break. Johanna Rytting Kaneryd stepped up and fired a shot that deflected off Nusken’s butt, leaving Zinsberger wrong-footed as the ball bounced into the net.

Chelsea had numerous opportunities to extend their lead in the second half, but Zinsbeger made excellent saves to deny James and Rytting Kaneryd from close range.

Arsenal managed to find the net in the final minutes, when Little’s volley deflected off Catarina Macario and into the bottom left corner.


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