Five-star Arsenal cruise to WSL win at Leicester
- Credit: PA
Arsenal cruised to a 5-0 victory at Leicester City in the Women's Super League on Sunday afternoon at the King Power Stadium.
Beth Mead opened the scoring on her 150th Arsenal appearance, while Vivianne Miedema hit a brace followed by a late Ashleigh Plumptre own goal and Tobin Heath effort.
Arsenal began the game in perfect fashion scoring after just two minutes, when Caitlin Foord made a run down the left before clipping an inch perfect ball into Mead who volleyed the ball into the net on the half turn to the Gunners delight.
Lotte Wubben-Moy found herself in the book on 14 minutes as she took down Shannon O'Brien who was on the counter attack for the Foxes.
Katie McCabe, who like Mead was also making her 150th Gunners appearance, was next to be booked as she went in aggressively from behind to the frustration of her manager Jonas Eidevall.
Miedema was denied a second on 21 minutes when she hit a sweet strike following a corner but Demi Lambourne flung across the goal to beat the ball away from danger with nobody on the follow up for the visitors.
Arsenal were in full control as they won a free-kick outside the area which Mead stepped up to take, however it took a slight deflection and went just wide of the target.
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Lambourne came to Leicester’s rescue once more as it was wave after wave of Arsenal attack with Miedema drilling in a rasping strike from the edge of the box that the keeper palmed clear from danger.
The game was turning into the Miedema and Lambourne show as the keeper made yet another stunning save to keep out the Netherlands nternational when the striker saw her low shot turned onto the post somehow by the sprawling keeper.
Leicester created their first opening on 31 minutes with O’Brien racing down the wing before crossing for Natasha Flint but Laura Wienroither was alert to clear the danger.
Arsenal had the final opportunity of the first half when the superb Lambourne kept out the impressive Foord who was causing Leicester so many problems, the Australian raced into the box before pulling the trigger but the keeper was equal to the effort.
Eidevall’s troops began the second half the same way they finished the first, on top, as Mead thought she had doubled their lead but somehow Leicester defender Esmee de Graaf got back to head the ball off the line and over the bar.
The visitors made a double change on 62 minutes, with McCabe and Kim Little coming off for Steph Catley and Frida Maanum.
And Arsenal doubled their lead minutes later as Miedema latched onto a loose ball, following a deflection off Foxes defender Jemma Purfield after her tackle on Mead, to plant the ball into the corner of the net.
Eidevall made another change with 20 minutes left with Stina Blackstenius coming off to be replaced by Nikita Parris who has struggled for minutes this season.
With Leicester tiring, Arsenal notched their third as Parris made an instant impact, playing Miedema through to make no mistake in slotting beyond the onrushing Lambourne.
It would go from bad to worse for the home side, sitting second from bottom in the table, with Plumptre putting the ball beyond her own keeper following a low cross from Parris.
With 10 minutes remaining and the points firmly in the bag Arsenal made a further double substitution with Miedema and Foord replaced by Jordan Nobbs and Tobin Heath.
And American international Heath was instantly involved as she grabbed the fifth goal on 82 minutes when Parris linked up with Mead in a neat passage of play and picked her out with a pinpoint cross that she flicked in at the near post.
The Gunners moved to the top of the WSL for a few hours, before Chelsea returned to the summit with a 5-0 home win over Reading, which leaves them one point clear of their London rivals.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, McCabe (Catley 62), Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Wienroither, Mead, Walti, Little (Maanum 62), Foord (Heath 80), Miedema (Nobbs 80), Blackstenius (Parris 71). Unused subs: Williams, Beattie, Boye, Maritz.