Arsenal Women held Chelsea Ladies to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, but the Blues remained top of the pile thanks to a Manchester City Women loss against Reading Women.
Despite Chelsea having most of the ball during the game, following their midweek Champions League quarter-final triumph, they couldn’t quite make the pressure pay.
Fran Kirby tapped Chelsea ahead after half an hour before a great solo goal from Beth Mead tied things up.
Starting out on top Chelsea had an early sniff at goal but Sari Van Veenendaal was able to stay alert. Two minutes in Drew Spence won the ball just outside the box before taking aim for the top corner where the Arsenal keeper tipped the ball over the bar.
Arsenal took a much more direct approach throughout the game and their main outlet was Mead. This became evident early on as the hosts’ first chance came when the striker was set free down the right before she fired a shot across which Hedvig Lindahl was able to get a foot to in the Chelsea goal.
After her early heroics Van Veenendaal was at fault to give Chelsea the lead. The Dutch keeper misplaced a pass which fell to Ramona Bachmann who played in Kirby to take a touch past Leah Williamson and then poke the ball home.
Shortly after, Kirby almost grabbed herself an assist as she found herself deep in the Arsenal box and cut the ball back, but Spence slipped upon taking the shot.
As the break beckoned, Beth Mead took the initiative again and showed some great skill to evade a couple of defenders and get into the box before her shot was blocked into the path of Vivianne Miedema whose resulting shot went straight to Lindahl.
Arsenal’s goal finally came in first-half added-time from the only place it looked to come from. Beth Mead down the right-hand side.
Latching onto a ball over the top, the 22-year-old smartly nutmegged Magdalena Eriksson, put on the after-burners, shoved off a challenge and then ended the solo run with an expert finish at the Chelsea keeper’s near post.
Take a look for yourself and see how impressive it was:
After the break Chelsea continued to play well on the ball but weren’t able to find a second goal.
Kirby skipped past Van Veenendaal only to take the ball too wide before cutting back for Ji whose shot flew over the bar.
Arsenal could have had a chance to steal all three points as Mead, who was playing more on the left-hand side in the second-half, was caught late inside the box by Ji but the referee waved away shouts for a penalty.
Chelsea then had a late chance to capitalise as Erin Cuthbert turned Emma Mitchell on the edge of the box, but the Scot’s shot went straight at Van Veenendaal.
The result saw Chelsea held to their third successive league draw but Emma Hayes’ side remain in top spot, three points ahead of Manchester City.
As for Arsenal, they drop to fourth with two games in hand over Chelsea and third-placed Birmingham City Ladies and one game in hand over Manchester City. The Gunners are just a point off Birmingham.