A brace from Vivianne Miedema and goals from Danïelle van de Donk and Beth Mead saw Arsenal Women run out 4-0 winners against Bristol City. The win, coupled with Manchester United’s loss against Brighton, sees the Gunners go into third place, the final Champions League spot.
Earlier this week, in announcing his departure at the end of the season, both Joe Montemurro and the club stressed the importance of finishing in a Champions League position, a job made far easier if Arsenal win every and control every single game. Montemurro, then, would’ve been delighted with the start Arsenal made. Van de Donk and Jill Roord played a neat one-two, and the latter threaded the ball through to Miedema, who made no mistake with her left foot to put Arsenal 1-0 up within 4 minutes.
@VivianneMiedema gives @ArsenalWFC an early lead! #BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/O2HqcltZyS— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) April 4, 2021
Bristol City were without their top scorer Ebony Salmon, and while they put Arsenal under a spell of pressure, there was no cutting edge to take advantage of more direct passes into the channel. What Bristol City were able to do, though, was stop Arsenal creating a deluge of chances, though the Gunners, through Miedema, hit the post twice. The first effort was a header following Foord’s stood-up cross, and then the second was a superb solo run from Miedema. She had the keeper beat at the near post, but the post denied her. Eventually Arsenal’s pressure told, with Miedema setting up Van de Donk to make it 2-0 on the edge of half-time. It was another lovely team move, with a neat exchange between Foord and Maritz, before the right back’s pass went to Miedema, who cut the ball back for Van de Donk.
The Gunners double their lead through @DanielleDonk @ArsenalWFC #BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/ECbYIUvQKv— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) April 4, 2021
A feature of Arsenal’s recent form has been goals in quick succession, and that was true again today. Beth Mead, on as a second half substitute, scored in the 63rd minute, after Anna Patten’s cross was deflected into her path. Two minutes later, Miedema made it 4-0, following in after Jordan Nobbs’ shot was saved by Sophie Baggaley.
Number two of the afternoon for @VivianneMiedema! Hat-trick pending? @ArsenalWFC #BarclaysFAWSL pic.twitter.com/nuG3wLOK0F— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) April 4, 2021
Miedema was denied her hat-trick twice by Baggaley. First, the goalkeeper saved sharply at her near post from Miedema after Katie McCabe’s cutback, and then, when McCabe sent Miedema through on goal, Baggaley parried away her shot to deny Miedema an 18th goal of the season.
Arsenal have now won five straight, keeping clean sheets in all five games. With Manchester United having slipped up against Brighton, Arsenal now know that keeping this form going will be enough to ensure Champions League football next season.
Arsenal (4-3-3): Williams; Maritz (Patten 61’), Wubben-Moy, Wälti (Williamson 45’), Maier; Little, Roord (McCabe 69’), Van de Donk (Gut 61’); Nobbs, Miedema, Foord (Mead 45’)
Substitutes: Zinsberger, Goldie
Goals: Miedema 4’, 65’, Van de Donk 45’, Mead 63’