Arsenal vs Brighton: Drama as Emma Kullberg is sent off just 7 minutes into WSL season

Emma Kullberg Brighton red card

The 2022/23 Women’s Super League season got off to an explosive start as Brighton were forced down to ten players in the first half.

The Seagulls travelled to Meadow Park to take on Arsenal but did not get off to the strong start they had hoped for.

After just seven minutes of play, Emma Kullberg was shown a straight red card and given her marching orders.

What happened?

Kullberg, who travelled with Sweden to compete at Euro 2022, was shown the first card of the season after bringing down international teammate Stina Blackstenius on the edge of the box.

A quick break set up a decent chance for Arsenal as Blackstenius was played through on goal. The Swede found herself with the opportunity to slot the first goal of the season past Megan Walsh but her compatriot clipped her heels and brought her down in a dangerous area.

Kullberg was visibly surprised by the referee’s decision but had no choice but to leave the pitch

The Gunners were awarded the free-kick but were unable to convert the opportunity.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 16: Emma Kullberg of Brighton & Hove Albion is shown a red card from match referee Lisa Benn during the FA Women’s Super League match between Arsenal WFC and Brighton & Hove Albion WFC at Meadow Park on September 16, 2022 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Arsenal off to a bright start

The Gunners will be looking to challenge for the WSL title once again this season, after finishing just one point behind five-time champions Chelsea last term.

They capitalised on their player advantage against Brighton and it wasn’t long before their fluid passing and pressure paid off.

It was skipper Kim Little who opened up the campaign with her first goal of 2022/23. She put away a neat finish from inside the box to give her side the lead heading into half-time.

Blackstenius came close to doubling the lead just after the 30-minute mark, but her effort hit the woodwork.

However, the Swedish striker redeemed her missed chance after the break and found the back of the net to kickstart her account for the season.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 16: Stina Blackstenius of Arsenal celebrates with team mates after scoring their sides second goal during the FA Women’s Super League match between Arsenal WFC and Brighton & Hove Albion WFC at Meadow Park on September 16, 2022 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Arsenal continued to dominate throughout the second half and it fell to Euro 2022 Player of the Tournament Beth Mead to seal the deal.

The Lioness scored her first goal in the 63rd minute and bagged her brace 20 minutes later to mark a poignant moment for the club.

Her second goal came as a bittersweet nod to lifelong super-fan Maria Petri, who sadly passed away earlier this year aged 83.

The club paid tribute to Maria ahead of the opening fixture and honoured her memory.

Next up for Arsenal is Spurs in the North London Derby scheduled to be held at the Emirates next Saturday.

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