Arsenal Ladies finally managed to beat Chelsea Ladies a year after their last win in the London derby with a brace from Corredera in the 2-0 win at Staines Town FC.
As expected both sides departed from their usual starting 11 and even from their usual tactics. Chelsea played a 4-4-2 wingless diamond system while Arsenal played with a 3-4-3, which made for an interesting tactical battle. In the meantime, it was the usual typically English physical contest.
The referee was unfortunately extremely inconsistent, randomly giving fouls, letting things go that deserve to be punished and giving a few a talking to instead of booking players. As a result Chapman ended up injured and on crutches and Scott did not fare better as she was victim of a full-powered, close-range missile to the face while she was on the floor.
Last season (2014) was poor in term of refereeing standards and it seems 2015 is going the same way. The FA needs to act because the football quality suffers a lot due to that poor standard. At the end of the day, if the players feel that the referee let them get away scot-free with kicking and potentially injuring opposition players, they will go 110% into dangerous tackles.
We saw the same thing happen on Saturday when a Reading player injured a London Bees girl who ended up on crutches and her foot in a protective boot. The referee decision was play-on. Protecting the physical integrity of the players does not seem a priority for the FA.
There was squad rotation from Pedro Losa including a first start for Sampson since she has come back from her long term injury. The starting 11 was set up in 3-4-3: Van Veenendal, Rose Stoney Sampson, Scott Bailey Janssen Mitchell, Carter Sanchon Corredera.
Chelsea also rotated their squad and gave a first start to Kirby in 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield: Hourihan, Borges Bright Flaherty Rafferty, Chapman Brett Coombs Spence, So-Yun Kirby.
Both goals came the same way: a misunderstanding between the Chelsea goalkeeper and a defender that ended with Corredera putting the ball into the empty net. Two goals gifted and gratefully received.
The game itself was quite even and both sides created chances. All the newbies at the club have settled well with Van Veenendal very solid in goal, Janssen a strong defensive midfielder performing well in that position and Corredera scoring her first two goals for the club.
Jordan Nobbs seem close to full fitness as she was again an unused sub like against City. Arsenal have the bragging rights for a week but make no mistake, it will be a different game next Sunday in the league. Tactics and starting 11 will be different and the intensity will certainly go up a notch or two.
The game will be broadcast live on BT Sport on Sunday the 23rd with a kick-off at 6pm.