Arsenal Ladies battled hard to secure a 2-2 draw at Staines Town FC against Chelsea Ladies in tough weather conditions on a very wet and slippery pitch.
Jodie Taylor opened the scoring after Danielle Carter was awarded a penalty as she was tripped by Carly Telford. Taylor put a weak low effort to Telford’s right that was duly saved but as the ball was pushed out by the Chelsea goalkeeper it was slowed down by a puddle of water leaving Taylor with the simplest of tap-ins.
Mid-way through the second half, Chelsea equalised when a free kick sent into the box was headed by Millie Bright who was not marked properly. Then, at the start of injury time, Chelsea took the lead with a neat one-two and a low shot from Drew Spence, for what looked like a winner for the Blues.
With the fourth referee indicating a minimum of four minutes added time, Arsenal launched a final attack on the left wing with Heahter O’Reilly, who passed it inside Carter on the edge of the penalty who toe-poked a shot that Jordan Nobbs cleverly flicked and lobbed the wrong footed Telford for the equaliser timed at 90+6’.
For this game, Pedro Losa kept his classical 4-3-3 system and his faith in his two young centre-backs. The starting 11 was Van Veenendaal; Scott, Patten, Wubben-Moy, Janssen; Williamson, Nobbs, Van De Donk; Carter, Taylor, O’Reilly . The subs were Moorhouse, Quinn, Williams, MCabe, Kelly, Humphrey, Mead.
With the team leading 1-0, he introduced Beth Mead for Jodie Taylor around the hour mark. It is interesting to note that Taylor rarely gets a full 90 minutes and was icing her ankle. Tactically, those kind of games where Arsenal are playing on the break totally fit Mead’s profile and she was close to scoring.
Two minutes after the first substitution Williams was introduced in midfield for Van De Donk to go 4-2-3-1 in a double pivot with Williamson, and Nobbs in the number 10 position. Itw as a very logical game management process inducing an attack versus defence set-up and inviting Chelsea to press and attack even more.
Overall, both teams created many chances with Chelsea on top most of the time and Arsenal trying to score on the break with few spells of possession.
It’s certainly a good result considering the excellent opposition and was a quality game with a lot of positives but also things to work. Arsenal need to be tighter defensively certainly.
The Gunners now sit in fourth place in the table, seven points behind Liverpool with a game in hand.
They will play Birmingham on Saturday at the Hive with an early kick-off at 1pm.
The Development Team was also playing on Wednesday and won 6-1 away to Watford, preparing well for their Cup final on Saturday against Bristol at St George’s Park