Arsenal go top of WSL with thumping victory over Manchester City
- Credit: PA
Arsenal moved top of the Women’s Super League with a 5-0 thumping of Manchester City at Meadow Park on Sunday evening and also kept their 100 per-cent record alive in the process.
The Gunners started on the front foot when Beth Mead was played down the wing before her cross picked out Katie McCabe who’s cut-back to Vivianne Miedema was well intercepted by Alex Greenwood.
Arsenal were playing with the higher energy and intensity as Mead was nearly played in over the top but the flag was raised before the English international could go through on goal.
Manchester City settled into the game and they had their first opening on 6 minutes as Caroline Weir fired in a low shot from outside the box but Manuela Zinsberger was down well to claim the loose ball after it slipped through the legs of Leah Williamson.
However the home side did take the lead when on 10 minutes when Karima Taieb raced off her line to close down Mead after a poor back-pass from Alanna Kennedy, the ball broke for Mead who played a pass into Miedema who slotted the ball into the back of the empty net.
Manchester City then had an early injury concern when Williamson went into Ellen White with a clean challenge but did catch her England teammate with the follow through however she was ok to carry on.
Arsenal did double their lead on 23 minutes when Lia Walti reacted quickly from a drop ball with Miedema getting on the end of the Swiss internationals pass and slotted the ball into Kim Little who got a shot away into the top corner despite Taieb getting her hands to the ball.
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Jonas Eidevall’s side were in complete control as they came close to a third minutes later as Little put a cross into the box but the ball cracked off the crossbar as it came down falling for Miedema who rattled a strike in low ,however the keeper was well behind it this time.
With five minutes of the first half remaining Demi Stokes made a fantastic challenge as Little was played in after a superb ball over the top but Stokes made a goal saving challenge before the midfielder could get a shot away.
Manchester City weren’t giving up ,they were huffing and puffing creating a huge chance on 42 minutes when Lauren Hemp drove into the box skipping beyond Noelle Maritz before getting a shot away from a tight angle that allowed Zinsberger to get down and make a save.
On the stroke of half-time Stokes found herself in the book when she stopped a counter attack from Arsenal pushing down Miedema who was looking to carry the ball further forward.
Manchester City started the second half brightly when Hemp charged down the wing before fizzing an effort across goal but Zinsberger got down sharply to make the save pushing it around the post for a corner that came to nothing.
On 53 minutes it was nearly 3-0 as Little was picked out on the edge of the area by Mead but she flicked her effort wide of the target.
Manchester City didn’t let their heads drop and had a really good opening when Filippa Angeldal who signed for the club in the summer hit a strike from outside the box but once again Zinsberger was down well to make the save.
On the hour mark it was 3-0 Arsenal via Katie McCabe who latched onto a ball over the top and then beat Stanway and Kennedy before firing the strike into the top corner of the net to seal the points.
Manchester City should have pulled a goal back two minutes later as Janine Beckie who helped Canada win the Gold medal at the Olympics during the summer headed wide after Williamson could only half clear her lines heading the ball onto the head of her opponent.
Eidevall then made his first change on 64 minutes as he replaced McCabe with Nikita Parris who was on against her former team.
Maritz found herself in the book shortly after when she brought down Hemp outside the box, it was Hemp who took the free-kick but she could only swing it into the hands of Zinsberger.
Manchester City however did come close to reducing the deficit when White hit the crossbar after she was played in by a fantastic pass from Vicky Losada before she clipped her effort off the crossbar.
Arsenal then raced up the other end in a flash and won a penalty as Greenwood brought down Little after she was played in after another fine pass from the outstanding Mead.
Before the penalty was taken Arsenal made another change with Miedema going off to he replaced by Caitlin Foord.
Little grabbed the ball to take the spot-kick and the Arsenal captain stepped up to drill the ball into the net leaving the keeper with no chance as it found the top corner to make it 4-0 for the north London side.
On 84 minutes Arsenal made a triple substitution as Tobin Heath came on for her debut as Lotte Wubben-Moy and Mana Iwabuchi also came on for Jennifer Beattie , Mead and Walti.
There was room for another opening as summer signing Heath was pushed down by Stanway however the Americans free-kick didn’t beat the first player allowing Manchester City to clear.
Arsenal did get their fifth however when Williamson got in on the act as she met a cross before powering her header into the net to complete a fantastic night for the Gunners.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Beattie (Wubben-Moy 84), Catley, Little, Walti (Iwabuchi), Maanum, Mead (Heath 86) Miedema (Foord 78), McCabe (Parris 64).
Unused substitutes: Williams, Patten, Nobbs, Schnaderbeck.
Manchester City: Taieb, Greenwood, Kennedy, Stokes, Stanway, Losada (Scott 77), Coombs ( Angeldal 55), Weir, Hemp (Shaw 70), White, Beckie (Park 69).
Unused substitutes: Keating, Mace.