Arsenal 5-0 Manchester City: After the men humble Tottenham, the women overtake their local rivals and top the WSL after thrashing one of their fellow title contenders
- Arsenal have three wins from three in the WSL, scoring 12 goals in the process
- Vivianne Miedema put the hosts ahead to become the league’s joint-top scorer
- Kim Little scored a double either side of a eye-catching Katie McCabe half-volley
- Leah Williamson made it 5-0 as Jonas Eidevall’s men sent out a strong statement
Three games, three wins, 12 goals and two title contenders defeated. Jonas Eidevall could not have asked for a better start in his new job.
Arsenal look a more ruthless, well-drilled and confident side than last season and they put a weakened Manchester City team to the sword with a 5-0 victory at Meadow Park.
Eidevall said before the game that he was not concerned about making a statement or sending a message to the rest of the league, but this win did both of those things.
Leah Williamson is mobbed as Arsenal hugely impressed in a 5-0 thrashing of Manchester City
Vivianne Miedema joined Sam Kerr as WSL top scorer this season with four after making it 1-0
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS FROM MEADOW PARK
ARSENAL (4-3-3): Zinsberger 8; Maritz 7, Williamson 8, Beattie 7 (Wubben-Moy 85min), Catley 7; Little 9, Walti 8 (Iwabuchi 85), Maanum 7; Mead 7.5 (Heath 85), McCabe 8 (Parris 63, 6), Miedema 8 (Foord 77).
Subs not used: Williams, Patten, Nobbs, Schnaderbeck.
Scorers: Miedama 10, Little 23, 78 (pen), McCabe 60, Williamson 90+4
Manager: Josef Eidevall 9
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Taieb 6; Stanway 5, Kennedy 3, Greenwood 4, Stokes 5; Coombs 4 (Angeldahl 54, 5), Losada 5 (Scott 76), Weir 5; Beckie 5 (Park 68), Hemp 6 (Shaw 68), White 5.
Subs not used: Keating, Mace.
Manager: Gareth Taylor 5
Referee: Elizabeth Simms 7.5
Arsenal are ready to take back the Women’s Super League title and it will be tough to stop them.
Not only did they go top of the table, they overtook Spurs on a great day for the red half of north London.
That Tobin Heath, Jordan Nobbs, Nikita Parris and Manu Iwabuchi were on the bench signalled the strength in depth Arsenal have now.
The Gunners lost their nerve in big matches last season and were beaten three times by City and twice by Chelsea.
Their only victory against a top-four side came against Manchester United at the end of the campaign.
An injury crisis, which led to a club investigation, didn’t help matters. But those problems are behind them — which is more than can be said for their opponents.
City manager Gareth Taylor was without eight key players last night after captain Steph Houghton became the latest casualty while on international duty with England.
Lucy Bronze, Keira Walsh, Ellie Roebuck, Hayley Raso, Karen Bardsley and Chloe Kelly are all out, though Walsh and Raso could return for the FA Cup quarter-final with Leicester.
That is now looking like a key game after back-to-back defeats in the WSL.
City are already six points behind Arsenal and Chelsea and in a league which is consistently decided by fine margins, that already feels like a mountain to climb.
Kim Little (obscured) doubled the hosts’ advantage as Jonas Eidevall’s team put down a marker
Katie McCabe’s superb half-volley on the hour mark with arguably the pick of the strikes
A lapse in concentration saw City concede in the 10th minute. Alanna Kennedy’s back-pass to Karima Taieb was short and the goalkeeper lost out in a challenge with Beth Mead, who teed up Vivianne Miedema to fire into the empty net.
The absence of Houghton and Bronze in defence means City are without two of their biggest talkers and organisers and a lack of communication was evident when Arsenal doubled their lead.
A long stoppage following a head injury to Lauren Hemp saw Arsenal in possession from the restart and City were caught out as Walti threaded the ball through to Kim Little, who held off three defenders to find the top corner.
Little then doubled her tally for the afternoon after converting a penalty that she had won
City looked brighter straight after the restart but Arsenal went further ahead with arguably the pick of the goals.
Walti’s long ball from inside her own half found Katie McCabe in the middle. The left winger took a brilliant first touch then kept her balance to get away from Alex Greenwood and Kennedy before firing a half-volley into the top corner.
There was still time for Arsenal to rub more salt into the wounds. Little was caught by Greenwood as she ran into the box and referee Elizabeth Simms pointed to the spot. Little stepped up to fire into the top corner.
Williamson made it 5-0 as the Gunners backed up their win over defending champions Chelsea
Leah Williamson added a header from a corner with virtually the last touch of the game.
With five minutes to go, Eidevall had sent on Heath for her debut. The USA international was an exciting addition in the final days of the transfer window and will offer Arsenal another dimension in attack.
5 ASIDES: MAN UTD BROUGHT DOWN TO EARTH AND EUROS PRIZE MONEY IN THE SPOTLIGHT
1) Is it a cause for celebration UEFA are doubling the prize money for 2022’s Women’s Euros? At first glance, yes. The 16 teams will share €16million, a 100 per cent increase on the €8m from 2017.
The total is far below the €371m shared by teams at Euro 2020, as Chelsea boss Emma Hayes pointed out.
‘When you consider it and look at it relatively, it’s nowhere near the amount of money that’s needed,’ she said.
2) Any optimism over Manchester United’s title credentials evaporated yesterday as they succumbed to a 6-1 thrashing by Chelsea.
Some goals were avoidable, but Pernille Harder’s solo run and finish encapsulated the gulf in quality.
Technical director Darren Fletcher and director of football John Murtough were in the stands and will have seen how much work is needed to make the club contenders.
3) Expectations are high for Everton’s record signing Hannah Bennison and the 18-year-old Sweden international demonstrated why there is so much hype when she showed skill and composure to score the Toffees’ second goal against Birmingham. And this exciting talent is only going to get better.
4) Common sense prevailed after Arsenal were allowed to move next weekend’s fixture with Aston Villa to give them extra time to prepare for their Champions League match against Barcelona.
The Gunners had been due to play Villa on Sunday before travelling to play the European champions tomorrow.
It’s a shame the decision was not approved earlier, with fans now having to rearrange plans at short notice.
5) A record crowd for a women’s club game in Scotland will watch Hibernian host Hearts in Wednesday’s Edinburgh derby.
More than 6,000 free tickets have been claimed but there is clearly a demand for more.
The current record stands at 3,123, which was set at the Scottish Cup final in 2019.
By Kathryn Batte