Arsenal falter in WSL title race with West Ham draw

This was the eighth time this WSL campaign that West Ham prevented their opponents scoring a first-half goal

Wasteful Arsenal suffered a blow in the Women’s Super League title race as they were held to a draw at West Ham.

They also found West Ham keeper Mackenzie Arnold in fine form – the Australian making several good saves.

This draw leaves Arsenal five points off WSL leaders Chelsea.

Arsenal have dropped points in back-to-back league games, after being held at home by Chelsea following a last-minute Sam Kerr equaliser.

Jonas Eidevall’s side have a game in hand, but are clearly missing star forwards Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema who are both out for the season with anterior cruciate knee ligament injuries.

West Ham meanwhile stay seventh, having drawn for the first time in 18 WSL fixtures.

Frustration for misfiring Gunners

In what has been shaping up as a fascinating WSL title race, this Sunday could not have gone better for Emma Hayes’ Chelsea.

Having seen Manchester United drop points at home to Everton, they won at Tottenham before watching Arsenal huff and puff but fail to blow West Ham down.

This was the first time Arsenal failed to score in a WSL game since a goalless draw with Hayes’ Blues in February last year, in a title race where they were eventually edged out on the final day.

Arsenal drew headlines with their stunning attempts to sign Russo for a world record £500,000 fee on transfer deadline day.

Their reasons for doing so became more obvious as this game wore on, with Caitlin Foord summing up their struggles by badly misjudging a chip when clean through late on, sending it high into the stands.

It is too early to make such projections this season, but in a league as tightly competitive as the WSL, dropping two points here could cost Eidevall’s side in the long run.

West Ham v Arsenal
West Ham became the first side in 12 months to stop Arsenal scoring in the WSL

Smart Hammers defend for draw

Previous games between these teams can only be described as one-sided – West Ham had lost all eight of their WSL meetings with Arsenal, while the Gunners had won all three away top-flight matches against the Hammers, scoring 15 goals in the process.

With Eidevall’s charges having won their past eight WSL away matches, more punishment appeared on the cards – but West Ham are much more resolute these days, and manager Paul Konchesky got his tactics spot on.

West Ham went toe-to-toe with Arsenal at the start, looking to press high whenever they could and refusing to invite too much pressure.

This led to a major penalty shout on 33 minutes when captain Dagny Brynjarsdottir went down in the box, however it was waved away by referee Richie Watkins.

In the second half they began to sit deeper, as Arsenal grew tired and more frustrated at being unable to break down their opponents.

When the home defence was breached, the visitors found player of the match Arnold in superb form.

She rushed out to close Frida Maanum down early on, and did well to deny the Norwegian again on the half hour with a smart near post save.

Arnold made further good saves after the break, denying Stina Blackstenius with her leg in the 66th minute before smothering at the Swedish forward’s feet soon after, then making a fine scrambling stop to keep out Rafaelle Souza’s flicked effort from a corner.


West Ham Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Arnold
  • 3Shimizu
  • 22Fisk
  • 23Cissoko
  • 2Smith
  • 4StringerBooked at 42minsSubstituted forParkerat 86′minutes
  • 10Brynjarsdóttir
  • 19Hayashi
  • 8SnerleSubstituted forLonghurstat 87′minutes
  • 26AsseyiSubstituted forEvansat 78′minutes
  • 17FilisSubstituted forThestrupat 63′minutes


  • 7Evans
  • 11Atkinson
  • 12Longhurst
  • 14Thestrup
  • 15Parker
  • 18Denton
  • 21Cooke
  • 28Hillyerd
  • 41Flannery

Arsenal Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 16MaritzSubstituted forWienroitherat 68′minutes
  • 3Wubben-Moy
  • 2Carvalho Souza
  • 7CatleySubstituted forMcCabeat 68′minutes
  • 12Maanum
  • 10Little
  • 6Williamson
  • 19Foord
  • 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forQueiroz Costaat 78′minutes
  • 17HurtigSubstituted forPelovaat 68′minutes


  • 5Beattie
  • 14D’Angelo
  • 15McCabe
  • 18Marckese
  • 20Queiroz Costa
  • 21Pelova
  • 22Møller Kühl
  • 26Wienroither
  • 59Agyemang

Richie Watkins


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