WSL: Watford 0 Arsenal 6
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
England striker Jodie Taylor scored twice ahead of the upcoming international break, as Arsenal made their extra quality count by thrashing Watford in the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup on Thursday night.
The emphatic scoreline moved the Gunners to the top of their group, albeit having played a game more than Reading, and a place in the quarter-finals is now assured.
Watford had an early chance to take a shock lead when Natalie Murray found Merrick Will in plenty of space, but the winger lofted her shot over the bar.
Arsenal made the most of surviving this scare by taking the lead in the 15th minute, as Emma Mitchell’s low ball from the left gave Taylor the simplest of finishes.
The Gunners doubled their lead within a minute of the restart, as Taylor’s pass found Lisa Evans in space and her low cross was tapped in by Danielle Carter at the far post.
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Arsenal’s third arrived just before the hour mark, as Leah Williamson helped the ball into the penalty area and Mitchell turned before finding the bottom corner.
Then followed three superb finishes within four minutes of each other, as Dominique Janssen swept first time into the top corner from a Lauren James corner.
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Before Watford had recovered, Janssen’s fellow Dutchwoman Danielle van de Donk launched a brilliant effort from just inside the box that sailed over Fran Kitching.
Taylor, who had earlier missed an open goal, then completed the rout with her second of the night with a terrific shot from distance with 12 minutes left.
Arsenal defender Jemma Rose: “The pitch was a lot different to Boreham Wood, in terms of the style in which we wanted to play, but we’re happy with the 6-0 and the clean sheet and we’re happy to progress to the quarter-finals.
“If you’re going to get Jodie Taylor in front of goal she’s always going to score and I think she showed how clinical she is in front of goal and how much of an asset she is to our team.
“Jordan Nobbs is our playmaker on the ball, she dictates play and the tempo of the play and her and Jodie showed their professionalism and experience ahead of the international break.
“Extra fitness might have come into play, but I think our technical ability helped, with us able to get the ball down and shift it quickly.
“Our aim was to play our style of play, get the ball down and keep it and be patient and I think we showed that.”
Arsenal: Moorhouse, O’Reilly (Kuyken 79), Rose, Janssen, Mitchell, van de Donk, Nobbs (James 68), Evans, Mead, Taylor, Carter (Williamson 57)
Unused subs: Thomas, Hinds, Filbey, Quinn.
*England face Bosnia & Herzegovina in a FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Walsall FC on November 24 (7.05pm). Buy tickets (£10 Adult/£1 Under-18) at thefa.com/tickets.