Arsenal regained their three-point advantage at the top of the Women’s Super League with a comfortable 4-0 win over Brighton at the People’s Pension Stadium. Goals from Danielle van de Donk, Jill Roord, Jordan Nobbs and Beth Mead boosted Arsenal’s title hopes as they saw off Hope Powell’s side.
Things looked grim at half time for Brighton as they found themselves 2-0 down in a game where Arsenal were well in control and never really looked troubled at the back.
The Gunners broke the deadlock on four minutes as a delightful pass behind the defence from Leah Williamson found van de Donk, who broke into the box and finished neatly at the near post with just four minutes on the clock.
Arsenal were constantly causing problems down the right, and it came as no surprise when Lia Walti’s cross from that side picked out Roord, who controlled superbly and finished into the far corner.
Brighton certainly took their time growing into the game but they showed signs of recovery towards the end of the half through top scorer Aileen Whelan. First a delightful cross was just about palmed away by Manuela Zinsberger then minutes later Whelan picked out Emily Simpkins with a delightful pass- Simpkins’s effort was a yard wide of the near post though.
Any hopes of a Brighton comeback were extinguished early after the restart as Arsenal extended their lead through Nobbs, who got the goal her performance deserved. Van de Donk this time turned provider as she found Nobbs’s run into the box, and the midfielder made no mistake when through one on one.
From then on it became an exercise in seeing the match out for Joe Montemurro’s side who rarely got out of second gear after half time. There was time to add a flourish to the scoreline as Roord found herself unmarked in front of goal- she tried to turn away from Walsh but was brought down, and substitute Mead was on hand to tuck into an empty net.
The only surprise was that Vivienne Miedema didn’t add to her 14 goals this season- she had a chance to put a fifth away for the Gunners when she latched onto a bouncing ball 14 yards out but could only lob over the bar.
It mattered little though as Arsenal travel back to London clear at the top of the WSL again.
Arsenal are once again at the top of the Super League table, and they showed their class in Sunday's match. The looming threat of an increasingly prevalent Manchester City side did not seem to make any difference, and Joe Montemurro's side found a comfortable win.
It will be extremely interesting to see what the outcome is next week when they face fellow WSL title chasers Chelsea at Meadow Park, a fixture that they lost 1-0 earlier in the season.
Luckily for Hope Powell's Brighton, the threat of relegation seems to be moving further and further away as each game goes by, with Liverpool looking almost certain to be making the step down to the Championship.