However, the two games were certainly not given equal billing by Arsenal when it came to the off-field messaging. The match day programme was largely focused on the men’s sides and its front cover referred to the women as ‘also playing today’, rather than labelling it as a double-header. That will frustrate many in the wider women’s game, who strive for more respect rather than being included as something of a token add-on.
Nonetheless, it was a positive step for the women’s side to play at the Emirates for the first time since 2019, and they might not have to wait long to do so again. The opening round of the WSL season sees a repeat of this fixture, and as the standout clash of the first weekend it is a strong contender to be handed the opening-night Friday evening slot, when the television picks are announced this week.
Sources have suggested to Telegraph Sport that the Emirates is increasingly likely to stage that game, with the WSL’s opening round having been deliberately planned to fall during an international break for men’s football. More visits are expected later in the season too.
Arsenal (4-5-1): Zinsberger; Patten (Ackerman, 63), Goldie (Gillard, 63), Boye (Henson, 63), Maritz (Mehmet, 63); Mead (Godfrey, 63), Maanum (Head, 63), Nobbs (Houssein, 53), Walti (Hennessy, 63), McCabe (Herd, 63); Evans (Jupp, 63)
Subs not used: Cull (gk), Negri (gk)
Chelsea (4-4-2): Berger; Wardlaw (Teale, 63), Carter (Brown, 63), Darey (Bowers, 63) Fox (Dungate, 63); Cuthert (Blades, 63), Spence (Palmer, 63), Beever-Jones (Guyatt, 63), Reiten (McGowan, 63); England (Nicholls, 63), Harder (Thompson, 22)
Subs not used: Orman (gk)
Referee: Emily Heaslip