Chelsea takeaways as Kerr plays hero in controversial Arsenal draw

Emma Hayes, manager of Chelsea, gives the Sam Kerr instructions (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Emma Hayes, manager of Chelsea, gives the Sam Kerr instructions (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /
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Lauren James of Chelsea is put under pressure by Caitlin Foord of Arsenal (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images) /

Replay review is desperately needed in the women’s game once again

Almost any women’s football fan can make this kind of argument, but when it comes to Chelsea vs Arsenal at the Emirates, VAR should be a necessity given the number of questionable decisions in this fixture. Last season in the opening match of the league campaign, Beth Mead found the back of the net for the Gunners’ third goal of the afternoon, but upon replay, Mead was well offside, providing Arsenal with an advantage in the title race early on, and forcing the Blues to fight from behind nearly the rest of the way.

The goal emphasized the importance of quality officiating in the game of football, especially on the women’s side of things, and after the officiating crew in north London today called Niamh Charles for an extremely harsh penalty, there is a hope that the league and the FA can get together to patch up this problem in women’s football. Should there be more training involved for the referees in both the WSL and the Championship? That could be one solution, but as equality on both the men’s and women’s side continues to move in the right direction, it is time we begin to think about what tools we are providing the men’s side compared to what is given to the women in the same sport.

After the result to begin the Blues campaign last season, Hayes said that women were being treated as “second-class” citizens without the use of technology to assist in making close decisions. Arsenal could have very well scored a goal that was not the penalty if it was not for a plethora of world-class saves by Musovic, but at the end of the day, since it was nearly the only goal this cagey contest coughed up, it has to be a talking point at the end of the match.

The league has been pondering a low-cost alternative to video-assistant referees since the beginning of 2022, and after this match, it is clear, the time is now. Nobody wants to put the burden on the officials due to the fact that it is such a difficult job but with help, and useful technology, we all can stop talking about whether or not the flags should be raised, and more about the product on the pitch.