WSL: Brighton 0 Arsenal 4
PUBLISHED: 16:26 12 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:26 12 January 2020
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Arsenal continued their relentless pace at the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League by beating Brighton on Sunday, keeping them three points clear of Manchester City.
A fine finish from Danielle van de Donk got the reigning champions up and running in just the third minute, before Jill Roord added a second just past the half hour mark, which effectively killed the contest.
The tireless Jordan Nobbs added the finishing touch to a flowing move early in the second half for a third, before substitute Beth Mead rounded the day off with a fourth late on.
Hope Powell's Brighton side struggled for large parts to impose themselves on the game but epitomised by Aileen Whelan and Lea Le Garrec, the hosts ran themselves to a standstill.
Dutch international van de Donk's opener was the perfect start for Arsenal, the winger taking a pinpoint diagonal pass from Leah Williamson to race past Kirsty Barton before beating Megan Walsh at her near post.
The excellent Williamson was soon to turn provider again, finding Roord on the edge of the penalty box and with ample space. The invitation to shoot was never going to be passed up, with Roord finishing expertly into the corner.
Brighton enjoyed their best spell at the end of the half, Whelan forcing Manuela Zinsberger to tip the ball beyond the post from a whipped delivery, before Emily Simpkins hit one just wide when she should have done better.
Viktoria Schnaderbeck and van de Donk then combined to open up the Brighton defence in two passes, with the on-rushing Nobbs sliding it past Walsh to cap a thoroughly industrious performance at the heart of a confident Arsenal outfit.
Mead added a fourth in the closing minutes after Leonie Maier forced Walsh into a mistake, with the substitute lashing into an empty net to cap yet another excellent day for Joe Montemurro's charges.
Montemurro said: "I was very pleased with the maturity of the team and they've come a long way. There's a lot of football to play this week, so it was good to get the job done.
"It was so important to get an early goal and then once we did we settled and then got that second. It was then a case of managing the game and we did, and that allowed us to conserve energy and work with the ball.
"We need to keep growing now, getting better and pushing on. There's no way anybody can start thinking or mentioning the title, because there's still a long, long way to go.
"The other good news from today is we've managed to get some minutes into the legs of certain players, and tailor their workload which is going to be really important as we get busier.
"Jordan Nobbs was very good and she knows there are things in her game which need work, but I think you'll see a player whose impact and decision-making will only get better as the season goes on.
"Two big things for us are planning and preparation and you saw the end outcome of doing those things well today, and we'll do exactly the same now for Wednesday and Reading in the Conti Cup."
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Schnadereck, Quinn, Williamson (Maier 76), Walti, Van de Donk, Roord, Little (Mead 66), Evans, Miedema, Nobbs (McCabe 76).
Unused subs: Peyraud-Magnin, Grant, Filis.
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