Arsenal matchwinner Alessia Russo believes the return of Beth Mead will be pivotal to giving Jonas Eidevall’s side the best chance of achieving their goals throughout this Women's Super League season.

The Gunners came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 at Emirates Stadium on Sunday after the England pair linked up to secure the points, with Mead laying the ball off for Russo to slam home in injury time.

Mead had been out of action since rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament last year but made an instant impact in her first appearance since the injury, and Russo thinks her introduction was the difference-maker on the day.

“It was massive. I think, to be fair, the reception was pretty incredible," said Russo, speaking of how Mead’s appearance lifted the Emirates crowd.

"Obviously, they’re going to be happy when a player like Beth comes on the pitch. She’s an incredible player and incredible person, and we’re all so glad to have her back.”

The return of Mead after a lengthy lay-off will provide Eidevall and his coaching staff with more variation in the forward areas as the Swede looks for the perfect antidote for his side’s struggles in front of goal so far this season. 

Teammate Leah Williamson, however, is not quite ready to return to action yet as she steps up her recovery from suffering a similar fate to Mead last season.

Russo felt the Gunners always had it in them to beat a dogged Villa, despite the 12 minutes of stoppage time needed to snatch the points from the Midlands side.

“Maybe we were unlucky to go a goal down, but if you give these teams chances in this league, you get punished for it," added the England striker when asked about the performance.

“I think we stuck together, and we knew there would be a chance, and we just had to take it — whether that was straight after their goal or in the dying minutes of the game!”

Eidevall’s side now look to their next fixture on Sunday when they travel to strugglers Bristol City, who sit rock bottom of the WSL table after losing their first three games of the season. 

The Gunners then host league leaders Manchester City on November 5 in what looks to be a crunch clash at Meadow Park.