Russo inspires Arsenal to Chelsea demolition in front of WSL record attendance

A record Women’s Super League attendance saw Arsenal women decimate Chelsea to blow the title race wide open on a rain-sodden day in North London.

The 59,042 who filled out the Emirates stadium, greater than all but two men’s games this weekend, were treated to a title battle that lived up to the pre-game hype.

In a week where Karen Carney’s recommendations on the future of the women’s domestic game were approved by the UK Government, the two sides produced a spectacle to highlight the growth of the WSL.

Reflecting on the development of the game, Arsenal and England Starlet Alessia Russo said: “I think it’s a statement for women’s football. Where the game is, where we can go and consistently getting massive crowds, I think is what we’ve wanted for the game for a long time.”

The clash lived up to the pre-match billing as Arsenal started on the front foot and were fired ahead by the excellent Beth Mead before Chelsea swiftly equalised through Johanna Rytting-Kaneryd.

The equaliser failed to give Chelsea a foothold in the game as Arsenal continued to dominate, scoring two quick goals through Amanda Ilestedt and Russo, the latter a Henry-like finish into the far corner.

On her goal Russo said “I enjoyed that one. I love scoring goals and that one today was special on an incredible occasion.”

The game was finished as a contest after Russo ran through on goal to be brought down by Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger in the penalty area.

Her ruthless finish into the bottom left corner capped off a memorable day for Russo and Arsenal who could have had more had they not been wasteful in front of goal.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes was disappointed with her side’s performance claiming: “We were bullied. We lost first and second balls and when we did get the ball, we gave it away cheaply.”

But on a day that will be remembered for the significance on the growth of the women’s game, rather than the football itself, England striker Beth Mead paid tribute to the platform afforded to them by the club to grow the women’s game.

With the previous record being set at the Emirates and women’s games often played at the stadium, Mead said: “I think as a club we’ve been backed and set the standard for the rest of the league to follow.”

Chelsea will look to bounce back in midweek as they take on Swedish side BK Hacken at Stamford Bridge in the Champions League, whilst Arsenal face arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental Cup.

Related Articles