Arsenal shook off Thursday night’s exit in the Champions League to beat Leicester City 5-0. The win sent Arsenal top, pending Chelsea’s match against Reading, and closed the goal difference gap with Chelsea. Arsenal, though, were forced to be patient by a Leicester side that was determined to avoid a second home thrashing in as many weeks.
Arsenal opened the scoring inside two minutes. Caitlin Foord, on the left, beat her defender, and picked out Beth Mead, who finished on the volley with her left foot. It was the perfect start for Arsenal—and given Leicester had lost 9-0 last week, it seemed like the start of a long afternoon for Leicester.
Leicester, though, kept Arsenal at bay with a number of last minute blocks, saves from the goalkeeper, and luck. Miedema was denied twice by Demi Lambourne in goal; first, picked out by McCabe, Miedema hit her shot hard but straight at Lamboure, and then, played in by McCabe, Miedema hit the post from outside the penalty box, with Lambourne getting a finger tip. Leicester remained deep, causing Arsenal some issues, with the best chance of the half coming in transition: after a driving run, Kim Little played in Foord, but her shot was saved by Lambourne.
Arsenal had 10 corners in the first half, and didn’t do much with them, but their first of the second half created an outstanding chance. The corner was worked short to Mead, who ran on to the ball and shot, only to see her goal bound strike cleared off the line by Esmee de Graaf.
The pressure, though, eventually told. Miedema collected the ball, and played in Mead. Mead’s touch let her down, but Jemma Purfield played the ball straight to Miedema, who passed the ball into the empty net to finally give Arsenal a second.
The floodgates then opened, with Nikita Parris, on as a substitute, influential. Mead and Parris played a one-two to set up Miedema, who scored her second, with a helping touch from de Graaf.
Parris, then played down the right, crossed, with the ball deflected into goal by Ashleigh Plumptree, and Parris set up her third goal after neat combination play with Wienroither and Mead, before firing across goal, where Tobin Heath bundled the ball in with her torso. Arsenal, then, enter the final international break on a high note. Once the international break is over, Arsenal will face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, before entering the final stretch of the league campaign, with just four games to go.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Zinsberger; Wienroither, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe (Catley 62’); Wälti, Little (Maanum 62’); Mead, Miedema (Nobbs 80’), Foord (Heath 80’); Blackstenius (Parris 71’)
Substitutes: Williams, Beattie, Maritz, Boye
Goals: Mead 2’, Miedema 67’, 75’, Plumptree (OG) 79’, Heath 83’