Emma Hayes refuses to ‘pile in’ on Arsenal kitman after sock colour clash delays WSL duel

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EMMA HAYES brushed off Arsenal’s kit clash error as “an earnest mistake” after Chelsea dispatched the Gunners.

Lauren James and Sjoeke Nusken shone as the Blues beat their title rivals 3-1 following a 30-minute kick-off delay.

Emma Hayes'  Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the WSL with their defeat of Arsenal

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Emma Hayes’ Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the WSL with their defeat of ArsenalCredit: Reuters
A clash sock colours for the rivals resulted in the Gunners having to wear obtained from the Blues' club store at Stamford Bridge

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A clash sock colours for the rivals resulted in the Gunners having to wear obtained from the Blues’ club store at Stamford BridgeCredit: Reuters
Lauren James and Sjoeke Nusken were on target netting Chelsea's three first-half goals

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Lauren James and Sjoeke Nusken were on target netting Chelsea’s three first-half goalsCredit: Getty

All initially appeared to be going smoothly in the build-up to the Friday night duel with a crowd of 32,970 watching Hayes’ last WSL match at Stamford Bridge.

But the game was unexpectedly disrupted due to a kit clash with both sides wearing similar coloured socks.

Before kick-off Arsenal players donned the white and red socks worn with their home kit

And they could be seen in them during warm-up ahead of the scheduled 7:00pm start of the match.

But three minutes before the clash began, the visitors were instructed they were not permitted to wear them.

This was due to clash in colour with the socks worn by their hosts.

The scenario saw the Gunners having to buy Chelsea’s blue and black away ones from the club’s store.

But the North London giants had to cover the over the Nike logo on the socks due with grey tape due to the club being sponsored by Adidas.

The garment clash prompted a bemused reaction among some observers with former Chelsea ace Karen Carney describing the scenario as “embarrassing”.

However Hayes insisted it was an “earnest mistake” and hopes Arsenal’s kitman won’t be thrown under the bus.

The Blues chief said: “Because of who I am, I’m not going to throw the kit man under the bus. He will be feeling terrible this evening.

“It’s a mistake made regardless, he’s a new guy into the position. It happened.

“If we would have had blue socks, and if this was an away game, we would have had white and blue.

“But because it was a home game we knew three weeks in advance we’d be wearing white socks, we’re the home team.

“But because we didn’t have blue, I couldn’t just say don’t worry about it, we’ll put the blue socks on because we didn’t have them.

“We are also in a day and age – and God knows why, – they cut everything out.  There’s a whole process within all of that.

“It’s an earnest mistake. I’m certainly not going to pile in on him.”

The hosts took just thirty-two minutes to race to a 3-0 advantage with the result giving them a six-point lead over the Gunners in the league.

Arsenal found themselves overwhelmed at times with James, Nusken and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd combining efficiently.

On the Gunners donning Chelsea socks, Hayes added: “I was delighted to see lion crests on Arsenal’s legs in the first half.

“Maybe that gave my players motivation, I do not know.”

Ahead of the game Hayes spoke of demanding a “Chelsea standard” performance from her side

And that is precisely what she got with the team going 3-0 up in 32 minutes.

Lauren James opened the scoring with 13th goal in 14 top-flight games this term.

The forward ran onto Nusken’s pass wrongfooting her markers to fire over goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger in the 15th minute.

The visitors’ tough start got worse with Nusken slotting the ball beyond the Arsenal shot-stopper just six minutes later.

And the Gunners were caught out again with Rytting Kaneryd pouncing on the ball following Leah Williamson’s free-kick, before making a powerful run to the box.

And her effort was deflected home off Nusken.

The second half saw Alessia Russo, Frida Maanum and Emily Fox introduced in place of Steph Catley, Victoria Pelova and Stina Blackstenius.

They had a free-kick that was fired at Hannah Hampton with 29 minutes of normal time minute shortly before James forced an impressive save from Zinsberger.

The visitors nabbed a late consolation through with Kim Little’s strike deflected in off Catarina Macario.

Defeat for Eidevall's side resulted in the Blues opening up six-point gap over the Gunners

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Defeat for Eidevall’s side resulted in the Blues opening up six-point gap over the GunnersCredit: Alamy

But the WSL leaders held out to seal the win denting Arsenal’s title hopes.

Gunners boss Jonas Eidevall said: “We should be unsatisfied with the way we performed as a team because that’s not our levels.

“I need to take accountability for that, we need to learn from that and we need to go next week.”



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Emma Hayes refuses to ‘pile in’ on Arsenal kitman after sock colour clash delays WSL duel

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