Chelsea Women 3-1 Arsenal: 3 takeaways, James inspires special night at Stamford Bridge

Well, that was worth the wait and then some. Captained by a monster first 45 minutes, Chelsea Women cruised past Arsenal in the SW6 to reach 40 points in the Women's Super League.
Chelsea FC  v Arsenal FC - Barclays Women¥s Super League
Chelsea FC v Arsenal FC - Barclays Women¥s Super League / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages
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London is blue, and so are Arsenal's socks. You can't sum up Friday night in the SW6 better than Chelsea Women's social team did. After reportedly being forced to purchase the Blues' away socks due to a kit clash that forced a 30-minute delay in kick-off, the Gunners were essentially brushed out of the Women's Super League title race discussion. Just under 33,000 watched on in the SW6 as Emma Hayes' crew enacted revenge from a historic road defeat back in December.

Led by three first-half goals, all three of which Sjoeke Nusken played a part in, the west Londoners jumped up to 40 points. It puts the club three points clear of Manchester City before it encounters one of the two teams that it was beaten by in the league on Sunday, Brighton and Hove Albion. The defeat was the fourth for the Gunners this season, the third campaign out of the last four that the north London side has tallied up that many losses. Don't forget, this performance was put on without three top-class number nines, three starting caliber center backs, and a game-changing attacking midfielder taking it all in from the bench.

"We have a great way of picking ourselves up – ‘The Chelsea Way’, we call it," Erin Cuthbert explained. "When everyone thinks we’re down and out, we always find a way. We enjoy the challenge of adversity and I’m really proud of the team today."

Nusken, Melanie Leupolz, and Cuthbert ran over Arsenal's midfield, particularly Victoria Pelova who was a ghost on Friday. In fact, there is still a wanted sign outside the Bridge with her name on it. Lauren James did what she has done at Stamford Bridge all season long: ripple the back of the net.

Without such critical pieces in the backline, that was one special 90 minutes from the home outfit's defense. Jess Carter and Kadeisha Buchanan amassed 17 defensive actions combined while completing at least 80 percent of their passes. Jonas Eidevall's group did not create a single big chance, putting just two shots on Hannah Hampton's net. 56 percent of the ball, and just one fluke goal put in by a deflection to act as a reward. For an attack that just scored four goals in 40 minutes in the Conti Cup, that output is not going to cut it.

With that being said, it very well could have been worse for the away side. While Austrian Manuela Zinsberger was not flawless by any means, she did come up with four saves that prevented it from being either four or even five. With all the inactives, this seemed like a gift of a chance for Eidevall and company to volt itself right in the middle of the English top-flight title race. The spirit Chelsea showed from start to finish with key assets serving as spectators was a champion-level achievement.

Here is the run-through of our three biggest takeaways from a remarkably inspiring night in the only place in England you can watch the UEFA Women's Champions League.

3 takeaways from a special evening under the lights in west London