Arsenal showed their intent to mount a Women’s Super League title challenge this season with some aspects of their play, said manager Jonas Eidevall after they beat defending champions Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.
Two goals from England international Beth Mead and one from striker Vivianne Miedema helped Arsenal claim an impressive 3-2 victory in a spectacular encounter.
Chelsea, who finished nine points ahead of Arsenal last season, could not find a late equaliser as more than 8,000 fans watched on in the stadium.
Former England goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis described the Gunners performance as “immaculate” and “perfect”.
Asked whether Arsenal had shown their title intent, new boss Eidevall said: “In some aspects I think it was, like the way we defended as a team in the last 20 minutes and the way we played out from their pressure in the first 30 minutes too.
“They were nice things that we could perform together and they helped us to win today. We know we have a good squad. We know we are a good club. It’s about performing every game.
“We will learn and develop during the season. It was a nice performance, a nice win but it’s one game out of many.”
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Chelsea boss Emma Hayes, who saw her side lose just once in the league last season, said the challenge from other teams in the WSL “is there every year”.
“We scored two goals at the Emirates and had 15 shots so created chances but you can’t concede three goals and expect to win games,” she added.
“The challenge is there every year so it’s not any different but I think the Champions League competition meant our opponent had a little more in their legs in the clinical moments than we did.
“The way we conceded those three goals – all in the transition – is for me the most disappointing part. It’s a challenge for us but the league isn’t won or lost in one game.”
‘Like being second-class citizens’ – Hayes
Mead appeared to be offside when she was played in by Mana Iwabuchi to score her second goal, which ultimately proved to be the winner.
It came after discussions were raised over the absence of goalline technology and video assistant referee in the women’s game due to a number of controversial moments across the WSL’s opening weekend.
Reading’s Brooke Chaplen hit the crossbar, with replays suggesting the ball had bounced over the line, during their defeat to Manchester United on Friday.
Manager Kelly Chambers said she hoped to see technology added to the game in the not-so-distant future and Manchester United boss Marc Skinner said he would also welcome its addition.
Chelsea’s Hayes said of Mead’s goal: “I heard before the game that there was a conversation around it not being a priority because it’s really expensive but I think we’re selling our game short.
“We have all got used to VAR and goalline technology so I feel by not having it in the women’s game, it is like being second-class citizens.”