We got our Arsenal back was the feeling among the away fans following yesterday’s demolition of a Chelsea side that was unbeaten in 25 League games.
Joe Montemurro has brought back the feel-good factor that has not been seen since 2012, when Laura Harvey left the club to take over at Seattle Reign.
It really looks like it could be the year when Arsenal Women return to the Champions League. Of course, it is early in the season, with five games played out off 22, but the feeling is really positive.
The Arsenal train has been launched and is running at full steam. The only thing that looks to be derailing it could be injuries. With two long-term injuries, one medium-term, and a small 19-player squad, we cannot afford any more problems.
That’s why it was a bit scary to see Kim Little being subbed after a bad tackle that should have been a red card according to Law 12. Unfortunately, it was another lenient referee on the day. As long as the FA doesn’t do anything about those problems, players will carry on being injured. She left the pitch on crutches, but hopefully it will not be a bad injury.
The table looks healthy with three horses currently fighting for two Champions League places. Birmingham are the surprise contenders while City seem to have recovered from their earlier bad spell.
In coaching staff news, there is a new goalkeeping coach with Leanne Hall, previously at Birmingham, now with the club. Here is our goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin’s reaction to this arrival:
“It is always a positive and rewarding feeling when you can work with coaches of her quality. We do a lot of good work together and it showed today.”
Leanne Hall is a former England international and has coached every England team at senior and youth level.
Pauline also reacted to the game’s excellent result: “The scoreline 5-0 says it all. Since the beginning of the season, we have been working to prepare for those big games and today we were ready.”
She also spoke about starting slowly in the game before going all guns blazing: “At the start of the game, we were struggling a little with our passing between their lines. We saw that we needed to build our attacking play, otherwise, it would have been difficult to attack.”
Early in the game, Chelsea were pressing well and winning balls with rapid transitions to their quick forwards and were troubling the Arsenal backline. But it all soon changed once the Gunners started to take control of the ball and the midfield with Waelti, Nobbs and Little.
“Once we switched it on, it went well and finished 5-0.”
Pauline Peyraud Magnin 8
A clean sheet against another title contender, many important saves and crosses caught. She has adapted well to English football.
Lisa Evans 7
Always willing to go forward and offer solutions to other players. Tidy in her defensive work.
Leah Williamson 8.5
A goal-saving tackle, very solid partnership with her Dutch counterpart, passing and calm under pressure helped the team in difficult moments in the game.
Dominique Bloodworth 7.5
A good performance alongside Williamson, she was preferred to Louise Quinn and fully justified the manager’s choice.
Emma Mitchell 8.5
A crucial role in the game opener with an overlap as she won the penalty that Kim Little scored. A good game down her wing as Bachmann did not trouble her unlike what we saw at the FA Cup final last season. A top performance.
Lia Wälti 9
An exceptional performance stabilising and balancing the midfield. Passing was crucial under pressure. Such an intelligent player. Superb.
Kim Little 8.5
Jordan Nobbs 8.5
Playing in the forward midfield role, she scored two, was the usual midfield dynamo that energised the whole team and created space as well as going behind Chelsea’s defence.
Danielle Van De Donk 6.5
Lucky not be carded in the game. Involved multiple times in pushing and shoving contests. Although the mess was created by another poor referee, there was no need to get involved so many times. She did a good job first on the right wing, then in central midfield.
Anna Miedema 8.5
Now back to full fitness, we see the clinical finisher that was missing last season due to her repeated injuries. Strong, powerful, scoring at crucial times in the game. A complete performance.
Bethany Mead 7
Did her usual job on the wing, worked very hard for the team, offering options and space when the defenders were under pressure.
Katie McCabe N/A
Came on for Kim Little and did a good job keeping the defence tight
Jessica Samuelsson N/A
Came on for five minutes at right-back as a sub for Bethany Mead.
Subs not used: Sari Van Veenendaal, Louise Quinn, Ava Kuyken