Arsenal have rediscovered their form as they make it two consecutive wins with a 4-0 victory over Birmingham on the road.
Hampton; Scott (c), Brougham, Mace, Holloway, Green, McCarron, Littlejohn, Mayling, Kelly, Murphy
Subs: Whitehouse, Murray, Napier, Whipp, Walker, Lawley, Hart
Williams; Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Walti, Van de Donk, Nobbs(c), Mead, Miedema, Foord
Subs: Zinsberger, Stenson, Patten, Maier, Gut, Evans, Roord, Little
Birmingham were the team who opened the game the sharpest. Ruesha Littlejohn’s pressing causing problems – resulting in a Blues corner. Three corners soon came, but nobody could get on the end of them. Lydia Williams also did well to stand her ground.
Soon after, Arsenal were piling on the pressure. Plenty of possession for the Gunners in their opponents half, with great runs by Beth Mead and Jordan Nobbs. Despite this, they struggled to break down the Birmingham defence at times. When they did, the chances were wasted as nobody could finish it.
A fantastic chance came for Vivianne Miedema when Katie McCabe put the cross on a plate for her. The Dutch international headed it towards goal but it came off the post.
Carla Ward’s side had a small spell of attack, as captain Scott was pacing forward towards goal. Her teammates joining her, she put a cross into the box, but it was straight into the hands of Williams.
The Gunners found their breakthrough in the 37th minute. Caitlin Foord headed the ball home to collect her eighth goal of the season – despite it being called offside at first. The ink was still fresh on the scoresheet when she added her name again, just a minute later she made it 2-0. Arsenal’s dominance was now in full swing.
They finished out the first half the better side, and even Nobbs came close with a third, but her attempt was saved by Hannah Hampton.
4-0 winning performance
The first card of the game was given to Leah Williamson, for clattering into Rebecca Holloway and preventing her run.
Birmingham looked more dangerous coming into the second half, playing their football a bit higher up the pitch. It was good defending from Lotte Wubben-Moy to stop any threatening play.
Ten minutes after the restart, the Blues had a good chance going forward but the final ball from Holloway didn’t meet Emma Kelly.
The play was slow for a while, both teams pushing to keep pro-longed possession. Miedema took an effort on from outside the box, but it was saved easily.
As Arsenal tried for a third, Williamson was playing her usual forward passes into space for Mead. Unlucky to not get anything from it. She found herself in the box with a perfect chance to score from a volley, but it went well over.
With a period of Birmingham hoping to get a goal, Miedema finally ticked them off her list. With a sensational hit, she made it 3-0 and notched 56 goals in the WSL.
As expected, Arsenal were happy to keep possession and see out the final minutes in their all important fixture. In amongst the mayhem, Kim Little came on following her return from injury. Birmingham didn’t stop trying to dispossess their opponents but the Gunners were just too powerful.
Lisa Evans got her say with just a minute left to go, they pushed for a fourth and they got it. A lovely ball from Miedema put the Scottish international through on goal, and she made no mistake to make it 4-0.
Joe Montemurro’s side managed to achieve back-to-back wins for the first time this season, and in great style.
A brace from Foord, a wonderful strike from Miedema and a goal from Evans sealed it. The Blues put up a great fight in spells of the game and will be proud of their performance all-round.
Shaky defending at times let them down, but confidence going forward almost made up for it. As they push for Champions League football, it was a promising performance as they go into the rest of the season. Birmingham are still looking for a three point result.