Chelsea Women back in action in first game of Arsenal double-header

It was a young Chelsea side that took to the field at the Emirates as pre-season started in earnest for the Blues in north London.

Chelsea Women kicked off just after midday with a youthful team starting our first friendly of the summer due to 11 senior players still featuring in Tokyo at the 2020 Olympic Games. Earlier this week, Australia, Canada and Sweden all made it through to the semi-finals of the women's football tournament.

On a day of all seasons in the capital, the action started in the sunshine, with both sets of players enjoying the atmosphere with the return of fans into the stadium. Pernille Harder was an early withdrawal after 22 minutes as a precautionary move, with Academy player Emma Thompson taking her place.

Moments later, the hosts took the lead as Katie McCabe fired in the opener, with the Gunners continuing to apply the pressure throughout the first half and hold on to their 1-0 advantage at the break.

The second half kicked into action with no changes from either side. Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs went off with injury after 53 minutes, replaced by Halle Houssein.

With 30 minutes to go, both teams switched nine players each with Ann-Katrin Berger and Thompson staying on for the Blues, giving Academy players on both sides the opportunity to represent their senior teams at the Emirates.

The young Blues restarted strongly with Reanna Blades netting her first goal for the senior team, levelling the scores at 1-1. However, Arsenal had the final say as they found a winner through Freya Jupp, handing the home side victory.

General Manager Paul Green commented afterwards: ‘It’s good to get minutes in the tank for the pre-season and a great double-header with the men’s team. It was a really good opportunity for the senior team to get 60 minutes under their belt and then for the last 30 minutes, it was also a good opportunity for our young players to come and sample the atmosphere at the Emirates and get to know what it’s all about at the top level.

'If you look at the team we had out and theirs, you would probably say they were stronger in terms of more senior players, but I thought our younger players that came into the team and our senior players really stood up. We were under pressure but we hung in there and we showed our resilience, like we always do. We now look ahead to Glasgow.’

The men’s team kicked off at 3pm for the second match in today’s double-header, with their match forming part of the Mind Series. Next up, Chelsea Women will face Glasgow Rangers away on Thursday 12 August. That match will be streamed for free across the club's digital platforms.