Women's Super League
Miedema 4, 65 van de Donk 45 Mead 63
Arsenal ease past Bristol City to climb to third
- Credit: PA
Arsenal moved up to third in the Women's Super League table after a 4-0 win against Bristol City at Twerton Park on Sunday.
The Gunners leapfrogged Manchester United on goal difference after the Red Devils lost out 1-0 at Brighton & Hove Albion thanks to Inessa Kaagman's first-half penalty.
Arsenal took the lead inside four minutes when Jill Roord, Danielle van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema all linked up in a Dutch triangle and Miedema was played in by Roord to slam the ball across Sophie Baggaley and into the bottom corner of the net.
Jordan Nobbs then came close for Arsenal as she made a bombing run up the flank before her clipped effort was tipped over the bar by Baggaley.
Matt Beard's side created a good opening of their own on 20 minutes as Abi Harrison crossed for Yana Daniëls who was well dealt with by Lotte Wubben-Moy as she put the Belgian attacker off her stride.
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Arsenal were not moving the ball all that quickly as Bristol City were frustrating them, but they did carve out another opening on 29 minutes when Baggaley made a superb save from Nobbs after Miedema's header from Caitlin Foord's cross hit the woodwork and fell to the midfielder whose effort was somehow blocked.
Miedema was lively and denied a second when the striker was played in by Roord but was thwarted by a fine challenge from Gemma Evans in the Robins defence.
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The post was proving to be an enemy for the Gunners as Miedema cut inside on 39 minutes before her low effort bounced off the woodwork.
However, Joe Montemurro's side doubled their lead on the stroke of half-time when Miedema did well in the build-up, skipping beyond the City defence before her low ball picked out van de Donk and she made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
Arsenal made a double substitution at the break as Leah Williamson made her return from injury replacing Lia Wälti and Beth Mead came back from suspension as Foord made way.
The visitors started the second half on top and Baggaley was forced into a good save when Miedema shimmied her way into the box but her low powerful effort was well saved by the keeper.
Mead was then inches away from a third as she picked up a loose ball and hit a thunderous effort from range that cracked off the woodwork once again as Baggaley was sprawling across her goal.
Montemurro made two further changes on 61 minutes as Anna Patten and Malin Gut replaced Noelle Maritz and van de Donk.
And it was then 3-0 two minutes later when Mead met a low ball into the box perfectly and her low shot took a heavy deflection and beat Baggaley sailing into the bottom corner of the net.
It was a quickfire double for the Gunners as Miedema scored her second on 65 minutes when Williamson went on a powerful run playing a neat reverse pass to Kim Little who laid a pass off to Nobbs. When the England international's shot was saved by Baggaley the loose ball fell for Miedema to tap in the fourth.
Katie McCabe then came on for Roord in the 69th minute as Montemurro pushed the Republic of Ireland international higher up the pitch ahead of Leonie Maier.
City did have a chance of their own to pull a goal back when Lydia Williams had to react quickly when Molly Pike played a dangerous ball over the top for Charlie Wellings and the keeper raced off her line to sweep away the danger.
Baggaley was putting in a sensational performance in the Robins goal as Little and Nobbs linked up allowing the Scottish international to get in on goal but her low effort was well saved by the stopper.
Miedema, searching for her hat-trick, was then denied by a fine block from Kiera Skeels as the City defender stood her ground to block the Dutch international's shot.
Baggaley was having a superb game and kept out Miedema again when Nobbs played a low cross into her path and somehow the striker's effort from point-blank range was stopped by the keeper.
Arsenal were pressing and pressing for more as Wubben-Moy met a low corner into the near post but slotted her effort just wide of goal after being picked out well by Nobbs.
The game was turning into the Miedema v Baggaley show and in the 88th minute the striker was played in but her low rasping shot was somehow kept out by the Robins keeper low to her left.
Arsenal had the final chance of an entertaining game as Gut had a go from just outside the box but she was denied by yet another save save from the superb Baggaley.
Arsenal: Williams, Maritz (Patten 61), Wubben-Moy, Walti (Williamson 46), Maier, van de Donk (Gut 61), Little, Roord (McCabe 69), Nobbs, Miedema, Foord (Mead 46).
Unused subs: Zinsberger, Goldie.
Referee: Sarah Garratt.