WSL: Chelsea 3 Arsenal 2
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal were edged out by their London rivals on their return to WSL action at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
The Blues opened the scoring through Maren Mjelde in the first half, before Vivianna Miedema restored parity.
Ji So-Yun put the hosts ahead again but Dominque Janssen equalised immediately, only for Van Veenendaal’s own goal to gift the hosts all three points.
Chelsea are now a point ahead of Manchester City having played a game more, while Arsenal remain fourth, six points off the pace.
The home side’s lively attacking trio of Fran Kirby, Ramona Bachmann and Ji all tested Arsenal keeper Van Veenendaal early on, while Miedema hit the bar from Jordan Nobbs’ low cross for the visitors.
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The deadlock was finally broken from a Chelsea corner. After the ball bounced off the keeper and post several times, Mjelde was on hand to force it home.
Ji and Kirby again went close with efforts from inside the box, but Arsenal equalised just before the hour mark, as Miedema’s left-foot shot deflected in off the keeper and post.
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The lead lasted barely five minutes as Kirby and Bachmann broke forward at pace and Ji’s weak shot was judged by the linesman to have crept across the line.
But almost immediately, Arsenal won a corner, from which Janssen stabbed home to draw the visitors level.
The game was decided on 83 minutes as debutant Jonna Andersson somehow kept the ball in on the left and Van Veenendaal turned her low cross into her own net.
Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs said: “There are a lot of disappointed faces in the dressing room, but disappointed in a good way because we felt we deserved more from the game.
“I think we put on a great performance but playing a top team like Chelsea, they have great counter-attacking ability and that’s where they’ve scored their goals.
“Sari had a great game and made some great saves, both keepers were great and that shows the type of football we want to play, getting lots of shots and goals. I’m sure it was a good one to watch but we are disappointed with the result.
“There’s more to come from this team, today was still a great performance and hopefully this is just a start to us getting back to being Arsenal and winning ways.
“We had the fight and the grit to keep coming back and when you play the top teams like Chelsea that’s what you have to do.”
Arsenal (4-1-4-1): Van Veenendaal; Evans (Quinn 90), Rose (James 88), Williamson, Mitchell; Janssen; Carter, Nobbs, van de Donk, Mead (McCabe 88); Miedema.
Unused subs: Moorhouse, Scott, Hindes, O’Reilly.
*To buy tickets to an FA Women’s Super League match visit fawsl.com/tickets.