Seven-up Arsenal thump Aston VIlla to keep hopes alive
- Credit: PA
Arsenal thumped Aston Villa 7-0 to keep their Super League title hopes alive at Meadow Park on Sunday.
Vivianne Miedema hit a first-half brace before second-half goals flowed in via Beth Mead, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Stina Blackstenius, Nikita Parris and an own goal from Rachel Corsie.
Jonas Eidevall’s troops started very much on top, Leah Williamson played a crossfield ball for Steph Catley who dropped her shoulder before cutting inside and cracking her shot over.
Arsenal played with lots of intent and Williamson played another sublime ball to take out the Villa defence, picking out Katie McCabe who in turn played the ball across the box for Miedema who saw her effort saved by Sian Rogers.
On nine minutes, the Gunners broke the deadlock following good work from Williamson, breaking the lines with an excellent pass to Mead who shifted the ball onto Miedema, whose shot found the bottom corner of the net despite the keeper getting a hand to the ball.
Eidevall’s side quickly doubled their advantage with Miedema hitting her second as Villa offered her far too much space following a smart flick from Caitlin Foord and the Dutch striker drove forward before slamming the ball into the bottom corner.
Arsenal were cutting Villa open like a hot knife through butter and Foord fizzed in a right-footed shot after good link-up play from Miedema yet again, but her low effort was well saved by Rogers pushing the powerful effort away.
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The Gunners pulled Villa around and out of shape when Kim Little whipped a perfect ball in for Mead who drilled her effort over the top from close range on the volley.
Arsenal could have added further delight to the fans at Meadow Park when Mead was played in on goal, skipping around the keeper but her low effort across goal only fell for Noelle Maritz who bent her effort a whisker wide off the target.
On another day Mead would have had a first-half hat-trick, as she hit a ferocious strike that Rogers tipped onto the crossbar to keep Arsenal’s number nine at bay.
The Gunners had the final opportunity of the first half as Rogers made another fine save when Miedema was set up by Mead, with her rasping strike well saved thanks to the fine reactions of the Villa stopper.
Arsenal began the second half as they ended the first, with Foord putting the ball into the net following a cross from McCabe but the referee chalked it off following a handball from the Australian international.
Rogers was forced into another save with Arsenal finding room in and around the box, as McCabe let fly but the keeper got across smartly to push the ball away.
Arsenal did have their third on 52 minutes when Miedema was played into the box and her thumping effort rattled off the crossbar and rebounded into the net off Corsie who didn’t have time to react.
Three became four with Mead netting a stunning strike as she picked the ball up outside the box and sent an arrowed shot into the top corner as Rogers could only watch it bypass her for her 10th league goal of the season.
Eidevall then made his first change of the afternoon with McCabe coming off for Blackstenius.
And Wubben-Moy got in the act when Mead won a free-kick and Catley’s effort hit the wall, with Blackstenius slotting in the defender who made no mistake in finding the net.
Arsenal had the ball in the net again through Catley but the flag was up and her celebrations were cut short following a fine pass from Miedema.
With 17 minutes to go Arsenal made a triple change with Jordan Nobbs, Parris and Laura Wienroither coming on for Miedema, Mead and Maritz.
Nobbs was only on a matter of moments before going down in discomfort holding her knee, but carried on trying to run the injury off.
Arsenal got their sixth when Blackstenius, from the tightest of angles, hit a low effort across the face of goal and beyond the despairing dive of Rogers and into the bottom corner of the net with the outside of her boot.
Nobbs saw her day end prematurely after failing to shake off her injury, being replaced by Frida Maanum for the final few minutes.
With time nearly up the home side won a penalty when Parris was brought down by Laura Blindkilde before Little passed penalty-taking duties onto the English international who repaid her faith by drilling her effort low and hard into the bottom corner.
Arsenal take on Tottenham on Wednesday night at the Emirates with the chance to go within one point of Chelsea at the top with one game to go in the division.
Arsenal: Williams, Maritz (Wienroither 73), Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Catley, McCabe (Blackstenius 61), Little, Walti, Mead (Nobbs 73), Miedema (Parris 73), Foord. Unused subs: Cull, Zinsberger, Beattie, Boye.