How Chelsea's substitutions played a crucial role in their victory over champions Arsenal

Ramona Bachmann's substitution was key in the closing stages (PA Images)
13:04pm, Mon 14 Oct 2019
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The marquee game of the weekend got a remarkable result as Chelsea ended Arsenal's unbeaten start to the Women's Super League season. What made the real difference in the match for the home side was manager Emma Hayes' use of her substitutes.

Despite having significantly more shots and corners, it seemed as though Chelsea would not be able to convert their chances into a victory. But the introduction of Ramona Bachmann and Maria Thorisdottir at 74 minutes, and Drew Spence later on, seemed to add real impetus to Chelsea's play.

Here, we take a look at some of the tactical plays from both sides in the defining result of the season so far.

Chelsea's intention was clear from the start

Ahead of the encounter, the match was billed as the clash between arguably the two best attacking sides in the league

But with Chelsea being humbled 5-0 last year by the Gunners at home, they looked to start with more urgency. Within the first five minutes, below, Chelsea's players stuck tight to the Arsenal defence in the hope of an error.

Chelsea's bright start was built on them not allowing Arsenal space (FA Player)

This almost paid off as Fran Kirby had a shot from inside the area which was blocked. However just like last year, Arsenal were clinical and converted the one real opening they had in the opening 10 minutes to go ahead through Danielle van de Donk.

Although this settled the visitors to keep the ball better and for longer periods, Chelsea could take heart from the fact they were not carrying the demons from last year and heading into the second half, their considerably larger squad started to tell.

"World-class talent" on the bench pays dividends

Both defences before the match had issues when it came to dealing with crosses into the box and when Bachmann came on in particular, Chelsea looked to attack on the flanks.

As can be seen in the picture below, there are five Chelsea players running towards the area and even though So-yun Ji's header did not end up on target it was a sign that the home side were not willing to settle for a draw.

Bachmann's introduction allowed for more attacks down the right hand side for Chelsea (FA Player)

Even in the buildup to the winner from Thorisdottir, Arsenal were forced to go back into their own area and a number of Chelsea players were applying pressure to every opponent.

After the match, Hayes said: "The second half we were really dominant. When you've got a top group of players picking 11 is really challenging because there's world class talent sat on the bench."

Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro agreed: "With the squad they've got, the individual talent, the size of the squad, they should be up there every year. Today is an indication of who they are, they are a good team and they are a powerful team."

Having overcome last season's champions and sitting pretty in second spot, just two points behind early table leaders Manchester City, the Blues have cause for optimism.