Kim Little hits 150th Arsenal goal as Gunners maintain perfect record
- Credit: PA
Arsenal kept up their one hundred percent winning record in the Women’s Super League with a 4-0 win away at Aston Villa on Saturday evening at Villa Park.
The Gunners endured a frustrating first half in the midlands but came out on top in the second with some sensational football to put on a real show for the travelling supporters.
Steph Catley whipped in a corner that was flicked towards her own goal by Aston Villa defender Meaghan Sargeant however Hannah Hampton in the home sides goal was alert to claim the loose ball inside 5 minutes in the first real talking point of the match.
Arsenal were causing the home side some problems from corners as Vivianne Miedema got on the end of another Catley delivery but her header was deflected over the top by Anita Asante.
On 14 minutes Manuela Zinsberger made a fine save as Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah let fly from range but the Austrian keeper did well to get up and tip the ball over the crossbar in what was an encouraging start for Carla Ward’s side.
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Beth Mead was next to test Hampton as she tried her luck from outside the box turning the Aston Villa defence before fizzing a strike in low and hard however the keeper was right behind it scooping it into her grasp at ease.
In a frantic start from both teams Hampton made another smart save on 20 minutes when Vivianne Miedema got in between the two centre-backs after a pass from Mead she tried to stick her toe to the ball but the Villa keeper was first to it punching the ball away.
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Aston Villa were taking the game to Arsenal when Alisha Lehmann ran at the Gunners defence but Lia Walti came across to make the block after her fellow Swiss international teammate got her shot away.
With 31 minutes on the clock Mead thought she had broken the deadlock when she fizzed in a cross that evaded everyone however Hampton got down well to beat the ball away from danger.
Arsenal really started to turn on the heat when Frida Maanum was played in on the edge of the area but the Norwegian who is still seeking her first goal for the club planted her effort wide of the target
Maanum was involved once more minutes later when she slid the ball into Catley who got a quick snapshot away but once again the Gunners were to be denied by a resolute Aston Villa defence when Elisha N'Dow made the block.
Arsenal had the final opportunity of the first half when the busy Catley got a low shot away but Hampton was equal to it as the keeper got down to claim with relative ease.
Jonas Eidevall was quick to make his first move of the game as he brought off Maanum replacing her with former Villa star Mana Iwabuchi at the break.
The side from north London came out of the traps quickly when Kim Little played a glorious pass to Miedema who drilled her effort wide of the right hand post.
However it wasn’t long until Eidevall’s troops were celebrating when Lotte Wubben-Moy played a brilliant ball into the Gunners captain’s feet before the former Scottish international jinked away and hit a low shot into the net beyond the despairing dive of Hampton for her 150th Arsenal goal.
Maz Pacheco then found herself in the book for Villa as she made a late challenge on Nikita Parris after the England international tried to jink round the defender and get herself into the box.
Hampton who had a great game for Villa and she made a world class double save on 62 minutes first to keep out Parris and then Miedema on the follow up from point blank range.
That was to be the last piece of action for both as Miedema and Parris were replaced by Caitlin Foord and Tobin Heath for the final 27 minutes of the game.
Heath who looked very sharp in Wednesday’s 5-1 FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur was instantly involved in the action when the USA superstar latched onto the ball outside the box before unleashing a powerful strike that sailed wide.
On 74 minutes Eidevall looked at his bench once more as he brought off Mead and Wubben-Moy replacing them with Leah Williamson and Katie McCabe.
Arsenal then sealed the game with ten minutes to go after a lovely free flowing move that saw Heath run down the left before fizzing a low ball into the box that was met by Iwabuchi who did the rest in placing her effort into the back of the net against her former club.
Two would become three two minutes later via McCabe with the Republic of Ireland captain scoring a stunner when Hampton’s clearance fell to her feet and from 30 yards McCabe dinked the ball over her head and into the net.
Hampton however would redeem herself a few moments later when Arsenal won a free-kick allowing Heath to step up and get her strike through the wall but the keeper reacted sharply to get down and make the save.
Arsenal did complete the scoring in the 90th minute as Little hit a strike that took a heavy deflection off the Aston Villa defender and looped over Hampton’s head for her second of the evening.
The Gunners who returned to the top of the table after Chelsea replaced them for few hours earlier on Saturday now turn their full attention to the opening group stage match of the Champions League were they take on defending champions Barcelona on Tuesday.
Aston Villa: Hampton, McLoughlin, Sargeant, N'Dow, Asante, Pacheoo, Pet zelberger, Allen, Arthuer, Lehmann (Davison 81), Bove-Hlrokah (Hayles 59).
Unused subs: Hutton, Blindkilde, Gregory, Rogers.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Wubben-Moy (Williamson 74), Beattie, Maanum (Iwabuchi 45), Walti, Little, Catley, Parris (Heath 63), Miedema (Foord 63), Mead (McCabe 74).
Unused subs: Williams, Patten, Nobbs, Schnaderbeck.