So it was a definite upset that happened at Brentford FC on Thursday as Chelsea Ladies had never beaten Arsenal Ladies until today. How did that happen and is it the beginning of the decline for the Arsenal Ladies or a one off event?
The first reason for the Chelsea’s success was being clinical while taking advantage from the Arsenal mistakes.
For the first goal, Helen Bleazard wins the ball back from Alex Scott on her left wing inside her own half She is about 55 yards away from Byrne’s goal and all she did was run towards it unchallenged until she sen a rocket from 25 yards in the top corner. 1-0
For the second goal from Susi late in the game. Buet sent a left side free-kick at the far post, Susi simply positioned herself between 2 defenders and headed the ball past Byrne game over. 2-0 As it has been disclosed in a previous interview Byrne is playing with a back injury and her mobility as well as her kicking is clearly impaired. It may have been a contributing factor for that 2nd goal.
The other factor was Sarah Quantrill’s exceptional performance on the night. The former Arsenal academy and reserves goalkeeper was simply unbeatable on the night and saved everything thrown at her The only time she was beaten Sophie Perry was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Contrary to the Emirates Stadium game, Chelsea started very strongly pressing Arsenal very high on the pitch, disrupting the passing rhythm and were rewareded with a goal. From they invited the pressure and played about 65 minutes of defending with dangerous counter attacks from time to time.
From the Arsenal point of view a disappointing defeat but contrary to the 2 Frankfurt defeat, it was clear that there wasn’t much more that could have been done better in term of attacking as many chances were created, many shots were on target.
Obviously a couple of players didn’t perform on the night and certain players choices could have been different like having Davison to make use of wide space open on the wings from the start could have helped as well as having Nobbs in midfield and not on the wing.
So is it the beginning of the end for the Arsenal Ladies ? Certainly not but some adjustment on the playing staff might be needed in the summer transfer window and definitely at the end of the 2012 season. Because, most of the other side are improving while the Arsenal is just staying at the same very good level and others are catching up.