Arsenal go three points clear at the top of the WSL with victory over Everton
- Credit: PA
Arsenal moved three points clear at the the top of the Women’s Super League after a 3-0 win over Everton at Meadow Park to maintain their 100 per-cent winning record in the league.
Arsenal are now the only side to have won all their matches so far in the WSL after north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur slipped to a 2-1 defeat away to Brighton & Hove Albion earlier on Sunday afternoon.
The home side created their first opening on 6 minutes as Vivianne Miedema clipped a ball over the top for Nikita Parris but the English international could only flick her effort over the crossbar.
Jonas Eidevall’s side started on the front foot as they forced Everton keeper Sandy MacIver into a good save when Miedema held the ball up before playing the ball back into the path of Noelle Maritz on the edge of the box who’s shot was pushed away well by the keeper.
Everton set up to frustrate Arsenal but on 21 minutes the Gunners had a big opportunity to take the lead as Katie McCabe played a smart pass to Frida Maanum, who crossed for Miedema and she got her shot away but was denied by a fine block from Gabrielle George.
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Arsenal fans then had their hearts in their months when Manuela Zinsberger came out to collect a floated in corner from Izzy Christiansen but she dropped the ball but reacted quickly to claim at the second attempt before an Everton attacker could react.
However, Arsenal did take the lead in the 32nd minute when McCabe let fly with a stunning strike from range after the Everton defence could only half clear a floated in ball from Leah Williamson aiming for Miedema.
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The ball came back out to McCabe who hit a first time volley over the head of Maciver and into the back of the net.
The Gunners had another opportunity a few moments a few minutes later when Maritz whipped in a cross for Miedema, but the Netherlands striker headed her effort wide of the target.
Arsenal did double their lead on 42 minutes when Arsenal won a corner that was floated in for Lotte Wubben-Moy who headed low beyond MacIver with the ball trickling over the line after a couple of Everton defenders collided with one another.
Everton didn’t allow their heads to drop as the Toffees ended the half the stronger when Christiansen had a go from range but it lacked direction and was an easy save for Zinsberger in the home sides goal.
On the stroke of half-time Everton had another good chance as Christiansen crossed into the box aiming for Toni Duggan but she didn’t jump off the ground as the ball sailed over her head and away from goal.
Both sides started the second half slowly however it was Arsenal who had the opening chance when on 62 minutes Heath cut inside before getting a shot away that was well saved by MacIver before it fell for McCabe who was denied once more by the keeper.
Eidevall then switched it up as he made a double change two minutes later when he brought off Heath and Iwabuchi replacing them with Beth Mead and Jordan Nobbs.
Mead was instantly involved as she cut down the left before pulling the ball back for McCabe who could only drag her shot low and across goal and wide of the target.
Mead was causing Everton all sorts of problems down the left as on 76 minutes she cut inside after meeting a beautiful pass from Miedema however her low effort was well saved by the feet of MacIver.
That was to be Miedema’s last involvement as she was replaced by Caitlin Foord a minute later.
With 83 minutes on the clock Nobbs was denied by the woodwork as the midfielder was played in after a cut-back from Mead who made a very positive impact but Nobbs shot took a deflection and hit the post before bouncing behind.
Arsenal ended the game strongly as Mead had another effort from range she connected with the ball perfectly before It zipped wide of the right hand post.
With four minutes to go Arsenal did make it 3-0 after a stunning strike from Maanum as she drilled her first WSL goal into the roof of the net from 25 yards out beyond the flying MacIver.
Eidevall then made his last change as Little was replaced in the final minute of the game when Austria captain Viktoria Schnaderbeck replaced her.
With three minutes added on there was still time for an Arsenal chance when Williamson played a terrific pass into Mead who picked the ball up before drilling her shot on target hit she was denied yet again by a fine save from MacIver.
Everton boss Willie Kirk revealed after the match that he thought he had signed Maanum in the summer.
“It was a fantastic strike - I thought I'd signed her but for whatever reason it never went through and she ended up at Arsenal.
"She damaged us today. I know how good a player she is because I wanted to bring her to the club so it didn't surprise me.
"I thought it was a done deal and for whatever reason we never managed to get it over the line.
"It worked out well for Frida - she is at another big club and she is playing well."
Arsenal now move onto the Champions League on Thursday evening against Hoffenheim before the international break takes place.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Little (Schnaderbeck 90), Iwabuchi (Nobbs 64), Maanum, Heath (Mead 64), Miedema (Foord 77), Parris.
Unused substitutes: Williams, Beattie, Catley, Goldie, Houssein.
Everton: MacIver, Turner, George, Sevecke, Maier, Bennison, Galli, Christiansen, Dali, Duggan, Anvegard (Gauvin 65).
Unused substitutes: Brosnan, Finnigan, Clinton, Pattinson.