Chelsea Women

Emma Hayes insists Chelsea should have been awarded a penalty in Arsenal draw

Ali Rampling
Emma Hayes says Chelsea should have had a penalty against Arsenal
Emma Hayes says Chelsea should have had a penalty against Arsenal / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Emma Hayes believes Chelsea should have been awarded a penalty as the Blues' table-topping clash with Arsenal finished 0-0.

Niamh Charles saw her cross strike the outstretched arm of Leah Williamson in the dying stages of the fixture, but referee Rebecca Welch waved away Chelsea protests.

The result leaves Chelsea two points behind WSL leaders Arsenal, although the Blues do have a game in hand.

"The best official in the league has missed the biggest decision tonight," Hayes told Sky Sports at full time. "Beyond that the game could have gone in either direction."

Pundits Sue Smith and Karen Carney agreed with the Chelsea boss, the former stating it was '100% a penalty' and the latter describing it as a 'blatant handball'.

However, both pundits admitted that the combination of Welch's positioning and the angle of Williamson resulted in the referee not having a clear sighting of the incident.

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall admitted that the decision could have been given against his side, but added that the Gunners had been unfortunate to not be awarded a spot kick of their own when Caitlin Foord went down under a challenge from Jess Carter in the first half.

The two sides head into next week's international break with proceedings finely poised at the WSL summit. Chelsea know that if they win their remaining nine games they will be crowned champions of England for a third year in a row - but Hayes' immediate attention was on embracing her inner Francis Bourgeois while her players are away with their national teams.

"I can't wait, get a nice break," the Chelsea boss added. "I'm going to Track and Play; I'm going to play with some trains next week with my son. I'm going to have a cracker."