You can’t maintain Sam Kerr quiet for lengthy. It is usually within the greatest of video games the place Chelsea’s striker makes her most decisive interventions and within the Women’s Super League, these don’t come a lot greater than towards Arsenal and in entrance of over 45,000 on the Emirates. The Australian’s header simply in need of the ninetieth minute rescued a degree for the WSL defending champions, which maintains their three-point benefit over Arsenal within the title race.
Chelsea had been dominated by Arsenal for lengthy durations and the hosts will remorse not ending off Emma Hayes’ facet after they had been on prime. Although Arsenal’s opener was massively controversial, the hosts created the vast majority of the probabilities on the Emirates and had the sting over their London rivals on the stability of play. But as Arsenal dropped deeper, holding on to what would have been an important victory, Jelena Cankovic produced an excellent cross and Kerr struck to salvage a draw.
Chelsea had been aggrieved at referee Emily Heaslip’s resolution to award a penalty for Niamh Charles’ problem on Caitlin Foord, which was clearly outdoors of the field, however they as a substitute completed the afternoon celebrating a valuable level. After Kim Little stepped as much as lastly ship Chelsea goalkeeper Zecira Musovic the improper manner, simply because it was starting to appear like Arsenal would discover no manner by means of, there was no query that the Gunners had taken a deserved lead.
But with out Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, each out for the season as a consequence of ruptured anterior cruciate ligament accidents, they as a substitute are made to remorse wasteful ending. There was a way of unease rising on the Emirates as alternatives continued to be spurned into the second half, and Kerr’s late intervention proved why. Arsenal’s pictures on course saved discovering Musovic and so they had been lacking the scientific crowning glory Mead and Miedema so typically present.
The aid, then, when Heaslip pointed to the spot following Charles’ barge on Foord and Little confidently positioned her penalty into the far nook, was palpable. Until that time, Chelsea had been hesitant and effectively under their finest. They had been swarmed within the first half and struggled to answer the controversial penalty resolution. Lauren James had been their lone brilliant spark however pale, whereas Guro Reiten was saved quiet. Sophie Ingle fired vast, whereas Magdalena Eriksson’s header from shut vary was their first effort on course, however was gathered simply by Manuela Zinsberger. Kerr, although, couldn’t be contained.
Arsenal had appeared extra prone to double their benefit. Foord lower inside and examined Musovic, earlier than Steph Catley’s drifting cross needed to be helped onto the crossbar. Lina Hurtig’s header from shut vary was additionally saved out, whereas within the first half alone Arsenal may have been out of sight.
In an unusually unsure opening interval from Chelsea, Arsenal pounced on early sloppiness within the Chelsea defence however failed to hassle Musovic. Hurtig had the perfect of the flurry of probabilities after Stina Blackstenius dispossessed Erin Cuthbert in midfield, however the ahead’s shot was tame and simply gathered. Foord and Frida Maanum additionally fired straight at Musovic, after Charles after which Kadeisha Buchanan had been too simply overwhelmed.
This was above all a must-not lose for Arsenal however they’ll remorse losing a wonderful probability to take benefit. Chelsea got here into this in relentless kind and with an imperious defensive document, but the primary WSL fixture after the Christmas break appeared to catch the guests chilly. James carried Chelsea’s menace on the fitting wing and at first appeared to have the beating of Arsenal every time she obtained on the ball. The first warning for Arsenal got here after simply six minutes, because the 21-year-old shrugged off Rafaelle on the midway line earlier than skipping previous Lia Walti. From there, she drove inside at Kim Little earlier than sending a shot simply previous the far submit.
For probably the most half, that was it. But then Cankovic picked up the ball on the fitting wing, drifted inside and picked out Kerr on the again submit. Kerr, as she so typically does, had the ultimate say.