Chelsea Ladies 0-2 Arsenal Ladies
Chelsea Ladies were brushed aside by a dominant Arsenal team in the group stages of the Continental Tyres Cup as some lacklustre defending gifted their rivals two easy goals.
Spanish striker Marta Corredera had the easy task of putting the ball in the unguarded net on both occasions in the opening 20 minutes as the Chelsea defence struggled to cope with their rivals’ attacking ability.
The result leaves Chelsea fourth in their group of six after two games, but they could go second with victory against Watford on Wednesday night.
The Blues, who lost skipper Katie Chapman to injury after half an hour, showed five changes from the team that beat Birmingham the week before and the lack of team cohesion, especially at the back, was evident with both goals resulting from Chelsea defensive mix-ups.
Chelsea did muster a response late on as record signing Fran Kirby saw a good opportunity thwarted by a smart save from Arsenal keeper Sari van Veenendaal, but Arsenal held out and ultimately deserved the victory.
Kirby tried to focus on the positives and emphasise her own return from injury instead of dwelling on the loss.
“My first start has been a long time coming – obviously I got back from the World Cup and have been injured, but I’ve loved it,” she said.
“I’ve been so well looked after, and I really enjoy playing here.
“It was nice to start. I felt sharp and like I was making good runs so hopefully I can take that into the next game.”
Kirby doesn’t believe her teammates played badly but acknowledged that the unfortunate individual defensive errors cost the Women’s Super League leaders.
“It’s disappointing to concede the way we did, but at least it wasn’t down to football mistakes or people not doing their jobs properly,” she added.
“It could have been 0-0 at half time and if that had been the case it would have been completely different in the second half.”
Kirby was also positive on Chapman’s injury as the team look to put this defeat behind them,
“I think Katie’s crutches were more precautionary,” she said.
“I think she’s alright, it was just an impact thing really.
“She’ll be looked after this week to get her ready for next week as she won’t want to miss that.”
Chelsea go to third-placed Arsenal in the league on Sunday.
Feature image of Fran Kirby courtesy of Chelsea Ladies, with thanks