Arsenal Women are top of the Women’s Super League after a comprehensive 5-0 defeat of Manchester City at Meadow Park. Arsenal, who had not beaten Manchester City in the WSL since 2019 or Chelsea since 2018, have now beaten both within the first three games of the new WSL season under new head coach Jonas Eidevall.
Eidevall had almost a fully available squad to select from, but his starting eleven was a familiar one, with a front three of Katie McCabe, Beth Mead, and Vivianne Miedema. Tobin Heath and Jordan Nobbs were on the bench, as was Nikita Parris and Caitlin Foord. Manchester City, on the other hand, had an understrength side, with Ellie Roebuck, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Keira Walsh and Hayley Raso all out injured. Alex Greenwood was fit to start though, and outside of their defence, there was the usual City midfield and attack, with Caroline Weir, Vicky Losada, Lauren Hemp, and Ellen White all starting.
Indeed, City started on the front foot, with plenty of possession in Arsenal’s half, and Hemp looking dangerous. They were able to play around some of Arsenal’s initial pressure and access midfield. Yet Arsenal continued to press and it paid dividends: Alanna Kennedy played a short back pass, Beth Mead rode the challenge of Karim Benameur Taieb, and then passed to Vivianne Miedema, who, with two City players on the goal line, fired Arsenal into the lead.
Arsenal had taken the goal against the run of play, and they doubled their lead with their second attack of the game. After a drop ball, Lia Wälti played the ball into Miedema, who flicked the ball behind for the oncoming Kim Little. Little held off Kennedy and Greendwood, and her shot was too hard for Taieb to handle, beating the keeper at her near post to make it 2-0.
Arsenal began to pepper City’s goal: Wälti had a shot blocked, Little hit the crossbar, and Demi Stokes had to make a last ditch tackle to stop Little after a Mead long ball following a City corner. City though would threaten before the end of the half, with Zinsberger saving from Greenwood after a corner, and Hemp threatening Arsenal’s back line.
The second half started much the same: City controlling possession but Arsenal looking dangerous on the break, and Frida Maanum should’ve made it 3-0 when Katie McCabe slipped in her 8 yards from goal, but Maanum dragged her shot wide.
McCabe would soon make it three, running onto to a superb Wälti long-ball, beating Greenwood and getting a lucky bounce off of Kennedy before slamming the ball past Taieb to put the game beyond doubt.
City, though, had some chances: White hit the bar after a Losada dinked pass, and then substitute Bunny Shaw had a quick turn and shot that went over the bar. Indeed, Arsenal may have been lucky not to concede, but they were ruthless, and would get a fourth goal when Greenwood tripped Little in the penalty box. The captain took the ensuing penalty, and after a delay for City and Arsenal to bring on substitutes, slammed her penalty into the top corner to make it five.
Arsenal brought on Tobin Heath to make her debut for the club with five minutes left, and there was time for a fifth goal. Following a corner, Steph Catley worked the ball wide to substitute Lotte Wubben-Moy, whose cross was headed home by Leah Williamson, topping off a superb day for the Gunners, and making it a miserable day for the visitors, who suffered their record defeat in the WSL.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Zinsberger; Maritz, Williamson, Beattie (Wubben-Moy 86’), Catley; Wälti (Iwabuchi 86’), Maanum; Mead (Heath 86’), Little, McCabe (Parris 64’); Miedema (Foord 78)
Substitutes not used: Williams, Patten, Schnaderbeck, Nobbs
Goals: Miedema 10’, Little 23’, 78’ (p), McCabe 60’, Williamson 90+4’