Arsenal Women are back to winning ways in the WSL, defeating Aston Villa 4-0 for their first win in over two months. The win leaves Arsenal in 4th place in the WSL, 6 points behind Manchester United, with a game in hand. All four goals came in the second half, after a first half that could be described kindly as patient and less kindly as soporific. Arsenal dominated possession, but couldn’t create much, with Beth Mead coming closest to opening the scoring—one shot went just wide, another was saved at the near post by Lisa Weiß.
Arsenal slowly began to improve in the second half. Vivianne Miedema went close with a shot from the edge of the box, having finally found some space. At the other end, Elisha N’Dow went close after a neat exchange with Mana Iwabuchi, highlighting the threat Arsenal faced: the longer the match went on scoreless, there was more of a chance for Villa to deliver a suckerpunch.
Nearly an hour into the match, though, Arsenal finally found the breakthrough. Jordan Nobbs won the ball back in midfield, and after Jill Roord found Beth Mead, the England winger drove an excellent low cross into the 6-yard box that Miedema tucked home for her 13th goal of the season.
Ten minutes later, it was two. With Aston Villa having to come out of their shell, there was more space for Arsenal on the counter-attack, and Jordan Nobbs drove Arsenal on. She received the ball from Roord, played in Miedema, and when Miedema’s shot was saved, Nobbs was on hand to tuck away the rebound—perhaps fortuitously, as she literally ran onto it.
Arsenal’s best goal of the day was their third: Roord set the ball up for Katie McCabe, whose rocket of a strike beat Weiß from 30 yards.
McCabe, playing on the left of Arsenal’s attack after Montemurro rang the changes, would be involved again in Arsenal’s 4th. Having earlier played a fantastic low cross from deep on the left hand side, she picked Lisa Evans out with a dinked cross from the edge of the penalty box for Evans to head home.
For Arsenal, it’s very much of a case of job done. With no margin for error as they chase a Champions League spot, it’s crucial that the Gunners take confidence from the performance but prepare for a similar outing next week, against Carla Ward’s well-drilled Birmingham City.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Williams; Maritz (Patten 80’), Williamson, Beattie (Wubben-Moy 80’), McCabe; Wälti, Van de Donk (Maier 76’), Roord (Evans 76’); Mead, Miedema (Foord 71’), Nobbs
Substitues not used: Zinsberger, Stenson, Gut
Goals: Miedema 58’, Nobbs 67’, McCabe 73’, Evans 88’