Kim Little inspires Arsenal to Emirates victory over Chelsea.
Arsenal Ladies 3-1 Chelsea Ladies
The FA Women's Super League
Thursday 26 April 2012
The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal FC
Arsenal Ladies manager Laura Harvey hailed Kim Little for responding to a "tough" spell with a match-winning performance against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.
Little, so often Arsenal’s inspiration, has struggled to find her best form in the side’s recent fixtures, including their 4-1 aggregate defeat to Frankfurt in the Women’s Champions League Final.
But she was back to her brilliant best on Thursday night in front of a WSL-record crowd of 5,052 at Arsenal’s magnificent home.
“For Kim Little, she has had a tough couple of weeks,” said Harvey. “Maybe even a couple of months where she has not scored the goals she feels she can score.
“I was really chuffed for her tonight for scoring two and having such a fantastic performance. It’s great for her and great for us.”
After a quiet first half, it took Little just two minutes of the second to make her mark.
The Scotland international raced onto a through ball and lifted an exquisite finish over the advancing Sarah Quantrill, who had replaced Carly Telford at half time.
Little turned provider for Arsenal’s second in the 68th-minute, delivering a pin-point cross for Katie Chapman to header into the top corner.
Chelsea pulled one back through substitute Kate Longhurst, who curled home arguably the goal of the game 14 minutes from time. But Little once again assumed centre stage to seal victory with her second and Arsenal’s third deep into stoppage time.
Harvey added: “I just have to keep telling her that if she does the right things it will come good for her.
“With a lot of players like Kim, if things don’t got their way they tend to forget a lot of the good things they’ve done. But she works really hard in training and she is dream to work with because she sets herself such high standards.
“When she plays like she does tonight, she’s unstoppable.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Matt Beard was left disappointed with the manner in which his side conceded the three goals.
He said: “All the goals were from errors by us. If you look at the first goal, we have allowed Kim to get across us. On the second, we haven’t put pressure on the cross. We were disappointed with the way we conceded the goals. Even the third goal came from our throw in.
“It’s disappointing because all season we have done OK. We can take heart from some of the performance but we didn’t keep the ball well enough to create enough chances and that’s why we got punished.
“Arsenal are the bench mark and the team to beat but the league is getting more competitive.”
Arsenal: Byrne; Scott, Grant, Flaherty, Fahey; Nobbs, Houghton (Beattie 72), Chapman, Yankey; Little, Carter (Davison 60).
Subs not used: Tracy, Ladd, Harris, Ludlow.
Goals: Little 47, 90, Chapman 68.
Chelsea: Telford (Quantrill 46); Fay, Bonner, Williams, Rafferty (Perry 46); Lappin (Longhurst 54), Buet, Coombs, Bleazard, Lander, Susi.
Subs not used: Spence, Hincks, Gwilliam.
Goals: Longhurst 76.
Referee: Tim Robinson
Assistants: Sian Piret, Lucy May
Fourth official: Steven Rea