WSL: Arsenal 1 Chelsea 4
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal slumped to derby defeat at Meadow Park as Chelsea secured a vital advantage in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title race with a dominant win on Sunday.
Sam Kerr scored her first goal since joining the club, while Beth England and Sophie Ingle both netted wonder strikes, leaving Arsenal's perfect home record in tatters inside 20 minutes.
Guro Reiten added a fourth before Beth Mead netted a consolation goal for the Gunners.
Chelsea were dominant throughout and opened the scoring after just 10 minutes through England's moment of magic.
The Chelsea striker pulled out to the right, cut inside Louise Quinn and curled a beauty past Manuela Zinsberger from the corner of the box.
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Just three minutes later the visitors doubled their lead, with Kerr left unmarked at the back post to meet a Jonna Anderson cross and head in her first WSL goal.
Arsenal looked shell-shocked and there was more to come, with Ingle striking a sensational 20-yard volley into the corner of the net when the ball fell to her after a free kick.
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Kerr and England both had glorious chances to add to their tallies, but both failed to hit the target from close range.
Reiten then extended the lead with a glancing header midway through the second half to put the game completely beyond doubt.
At the other end, the champions barely mustered a shot in the first half, their best effort coming when Katie McCabe forced Ann-Katrin Berger into a save with her feet.
After the break they showed signs of improvement and finally pulled one back when Mead's header was spilled over the line by Berger.
But the damage had been done by then, with Joe Montemurro's side beaten at home for the first time in a year.
The win takes Chelsea to within a point of Arsenal and Manchester City, with a game in hand over their two title rivals, who meet each other in two weeks.
Arsenal captain Kim Little said: "We're very disappointed with our performance, and how we played in the first half especially, but I think credit has to go to Chelsea, they turned up from the beginning of the match, we made mistakes and they scored some very good goals and outperformed us.
"We had to pull ourselves together after 20 minutes, to be compact and make sure we were working as a team, because at the start of the game there were lots of spaces for them, and they took advantage of that.
"They have great players, and they made it very hard for us, got tight to us, gave us very little time, myself personally didn't do well enough to get out of that at times. They did very well to keep us off the pace in the middle. It's what I expected, it's no different to any other game against Chelsea.
"With us, Chelsea and Man City these games are crucial, and today was one of those, but it's also only one game within the whole season, so we need to look at it in that sesne. There's big games still to play and it's still very tight at the top, so it's disappointing and frustrating right now, in the moment, but we'll reflect and it'll give us a realisation of how to be better and how to up our game."
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Schnaderbeck, Williamson, Quinn (Evans 58), van de Donk, Walti, Nobbs (Mead 58), Little, McCabe, Miedema, Roord. Unused subs: Peyraud-Magnin, Maier, Grant, Filis.
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