WSL / Arsenal vs Brighton: Whelan inspired by Chelsea draw ahead of clash with champions

Fern Whelan (Paul Hazlewood)
Fern Whelan (Paul Hazlewood)

Fern Whelan insists Brighton can take inspiration from their recent 1-1 draw against Chelsea as they take on Arsenal today (Sunday, 12.30pm) in the Women’s Super League.

Arsenal are the defending champions and demonstrated their power once again in midweek as they cruised through to the last 16 of the Women’s Champions League thanks to 6-0 aggregate victory against Fiorentina.

Hope Powell’s Brighton team are ninth in the WSL standings with two points from their opening two matches.

They drew at Bristol City on the opening day of the season and then battled to a 1-1 draw against one of the league giants, Chelsea.

Defender Whelan had put Brighton ahead in that game but Chelsea hit a late leveller to force the draw.

The fact Brighton went toe-to-toe with one of the league’s best, gives Whelan encouragement ahead of today’s daunting task at Meadow Park.

She said, “I’ve had years of playing against Arsenal in the past. When I was playing for Everton, they were at the top before going through a transition period, and now they are back at full strength again.

“It will be one of our toughest games all season, but the girls have built up some confidence coming off the back of the Chelsea game and proved we can get points against these teams.

“We may have been a bit naive in the past and get overawed by a side like Arsenal, but it’s another team we’re coming up against and it doesn’t change how we’re going to approach the games. Everyone is looking forward to it.”

The centre-back also commented on the incredible team spirit within the Brighton squad.

“We all treat each other as equals, no matter if you’re an international just coming back from the World Cup, or if you’re a player who’s never played against Arsenal in their life.

“We don’t treat anyone any differently. It’s the same across the board and that’s what is great in this team. It doesn’t allow any egos to set in and we all have the same goal for the season.”