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Vivianne Miedema brace sends Arsenal top at Christmas

Two goals from Vivianne Miedema and a penalty from Kim Little meant Arsenal will be top at the end of the year, but the Gunners lost Beth Mead to injury.

Everton v Arsenal - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Vivianne Miedema scored another two goals and Kim Little won and scored a penalty as Arsenal Women won 3-1 against Everton to ensure that the Gunners will be top as the calendar turns to 2020. The win, though, was blighted by what looked like a severe lower leg injury to Beth Mead, who had to be stretchered off following a challenge from Everton defender Gabby George. Reports afterwards hinted that Mead was on crutches, with x-rays to follow tomorrow.

Arsenal, who lost Jordan Nobbs to injury on this very ground last year, were shaky following Mead’s injury, but regrouped in the second half.

The champions, though, started extremely well. As opposed to last week, when Arsenal had to survive pressure in the opening thirty minutes, the opening thirty minutes here were all about Arsenal’s football. After early chances for Lia Wälti and Miedema, the latter broke through on fourteen minutes, heading Kim Little’s cross past Tinja-Riikka Korpela. Arsenal could’ve easily had more: after Miedema slipped in Mead, Danïelle van de Donk was inches away from tapping in Mead’s cutback, and Van de Donk’s shot was saved by Korpela.

On half an hour, though, Arsenal lost Mead. The England international was fouled by Gabby George, and stayed down, with an injury to her lower leg. After several minutes, Mead was stretchered off, with her lower leg in a protective brace. Following the long stoppage, Arsenal were on the back foot, though Everton were unable to create a meaningful chance.

Arsenal stepped back up after half time. Kim Little was barged over by Chloe Kelly in the penalty box, stepped up, and scored the penalty.

Minutes later, it was three, with Leonie Maier, who replaced Mead, sending a low cross just out of the range of Korpela for Miedema to tap home at the far post. It was Miedema’s 53rd goal of a remarkable 2019, the sixth straight WSL game that she has scored in, equalling Kim Little’s record, and her tenth goal in her last three leagues games.

An error from Leah Williamson allowed Chloe Kelly to claw one back, and Arsenal spent some worrying moments before again regaining control, and coming close to a fourth goal. The fourth goal wouldn’t come, but, with Arsenal’s win followed by Chelsea’s draw with bottom side Liverpool, a four point gap between Arsenal and Chelsea has come, erasing the damage done by Arsenal’s defeat to the Blues in October. With Manchester City winning, Arsenal have a three point lead at the top of the table as they enter 2020 looking to repeat their championship feats of 2019.

Arsenal’s next game will be on Sunday, January 5, at home to Birmingham.

Arsenal: Zinsberger; Evans, Williamson, Schnaderbeck, McCabe; Wälti, Little, Roord; Mead (Maier 37’), Miedema, Van de Donk
Subs not used: Peyraud-Magnin, Mitchell, Quinn, Nobbs, Filis, Grant
Goals: Arsenal: Miedema (14’, 57’), Little (55’ p); Everton: Kelly (78’)