With Manchester City and Chelsea out of action due to a waterlogged pitch and a COVID outbreak respectively, Arsenal Women are up to second place in the WSL after a 4-0 win against Everton in their final game of 2020. The win sees Arsenal remain 4 points behind league leaders Manchester United.
Joe Montemurro made two changes to the team that lost against Manchester City. Lisa Evans came in for Leonie Maier at right back, and, Vivianne Miedema was named among the substitutes as Jordan Nobbs came into the team, with Caitlin Foord switching to center forward.
Joe Montemurro on Miedema on the bench: "We’ve got 22 players that all contribute and it was a choice today.— Suzy Wrack (@SuzyWrack) December 20, 2020
I’m sure she’ll make a contribution today."
Despite not having Miedema, Arsenal got off to a strong start. With Everton playing a diamond, Arsenal were able to exploit the wide areas. First, Katie McCabe’s cross led to blocked shots from both Jill Roord and Nobbs; then, Arsenal worked the ball out wide again, and Beth Mead’s low cross along the 6-yard box was tapped into an empty net by Nobbs, giving Arsenal a 1-0 lead after 4 minutes.
Against Manchester City, Arsenal had very little attacking penetration down the right hand side, which not only impacted how Arsenal created chances, but how Arsenal built attacks, starting with Leah Williamson. Today, though, there was no such issue, as Arsenal doubled their lead on 10 minutes. Williamson’s fine pass over the top found Roord in an inside-right position, and her ball across the box was tucked away by Foord for her 8th goal of the season—second only to Miedema. Foord could’ve made it three, but her shot went over the bar following Nobbs’ pass.
Everton, though, grew into the game. A mistake by Leah Williamson presented Hayley Raso with the ball in the Arsenal penalty box, but Raso dragged her shot wide. Arsenal, though, became sloppy, and Everton began to press more in midfield. While they weren’t necessarily creating enough to get back into the game, they stopped Arsenal from extending their lead. Arsenal did have a chance from a corner, but Jen Beattie headed over from McCabe’s delivery.
Everton started the second half on the front foot, and were the better side for the first fifteen minutes. Arsenal, though, came back into the game, again through Nobbs. Nobbs robbed Megan Finnigan on the edge of the area, and played the ball to Roord, whose shot was saved by Sandy MacIver. From the ensuing corner, MacIver flapped at McCabe’s delivery, with Beattie heading home—again to big celebrations, much like Beattie’s goal against Brighton earlier this season.
Minutes later it was four. Nobbs played a great ball over the top for Mead, who cut onto her left foot and fired past MacIver from the edge of the box. Foord should’ve made it five when she was played through, but MacIver stayed on her feet and blocked the shot as Foord tried go around her.
Arsenal brought on Danïelle van de Donk and Miedema as the match petered out. With Arsenal only having had one win in their previous four WSL games, it was important for Arsenal to get back to winning ways against a decent Everton side, but it also didn’t lead to any new revelations about Montemurro’s side, which in fairness, will not happen until Arsenal play one of their title and Champions League rivals.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Williams; Evans, Williamson, Beattie, McCabe (Maier 80); Gut (Wälti 61’), Little, Roord (Van de Donk 72’); Mead, Foord (Miedema 72’), Nobbs
Substitutes not used: Zinsberger, Stenson
Goals: Nobbs 4’, Foord 10’, Beattie 61’, Mead 63’