Beth Mead made a triumphant return to the scoresheet at the weekend, nabbing a brace for Arsenal in their 3-0 win over West Ham. The striker’s two goals marked her first since returning from a lengthy injury abscence.
Arsenal’s win keeps them chasing leaders Chelsea, three points behind the reigning champions and three ahead of Manchester City in third.
Zinsberger (G), McCabe, Ilestedt, Wubben-Moy, Catley, Pelova, Cooney-Cross, Mead, Maanum, Foord, Russo
Walsh (G), Smith, Cissoko, Tysiak, Shimizu, Evans, Hayashi, Stringer, Harries, Ueki, Asseyi.
How it went
Following their slow start to the season, the Gunners have been on fire. With eight straight wins across all competitions, Arsenal have moved into second in the WSL table. West Ham have been struggling mightily this season. The are tied with Bristol City at the bottom of the table, and have the fewest goals scored in the WSL.
Having never beaten the Gunners in nine lifetime WSL meetings, the Irons faced a tall task at Meadow Park.
A quick start
In just the second minute, the hosts took the lead as Frida Maanum’s long distance strike caught out Megan Walsh. The goalkeeper may have been expecting a cross from Maanum, and couldn’t get to the top corner shot.
West Ham came within centimetres of equalising just two minutes later. Lisa Evans’ cross found Viviane Asseyi directly in front of goal. A beautiful flip evaded Manuela Zinsberger, but the ball bounced off the post to preserve Arsenal’s lead.Embed from Getty Images
Beth Mead is back for Arsenal
Following some continued pressure from the home side, the moment Arsenal fans had been waiting for arrived. Mead dribbled just outside the box, got herself some space, and fired past Walsh for a 2-0 lead. The Arsenal faithful exploded, wildly celebrating Mead scoring her first goal in more than a year. They would not have to wait long to celebrate again either.
Following several attacks keyed by the excellent play of Kyra Cooney-Cross, the Gunners struck again in the 41st minute. This time, Alessia Russo made a superb goal-line run that drew both the defender and the keeper. She fed Mead alone in front, and Arsenal’s No.9 easily made it 3-0. Mead is indeed back.
The second half
The second half produced some excellent opportunities for both sides. Asseyi hit the woodwork again just after the half-time break for West Ham. The striker worked herself free and took a shot from just outside the box. Amanda Ilestedt deflected the shot with her head, and the ball cannoned off the crossbar.
The two sides traded chances for the rest of the half, with the visitors nearly drawing a late goal. A West Ham corner dropped to Hana Cissoko just in front of the goal. She battled with Zinsberger and Steph Catley, but her two backheel attempts came to naught. The Arsenal keeper was able to fall on the ball to quell the threat. The match ended with the home side taking the three points.Embed from Getty Images
The win keeps Arsenal second in the table, three points behind current title holders Chelsea. West Ham remains in the relegation battle with Bristol at the bottom of the table. The two sides both sit on four points, with but a single goal keeping the Irons up.
The league will be off next week on international break. Arsenal will host Chelsea in the match of the year at the Emirates on December 10th. West Ham will host Everton at Chigwell Construction Stadium the same day.