Arsenal brush aside West Ham in London derby
- Credit: PA
Arsenal maintained their 100 per-cent record at the top of the Women’s Super League on Sunday evening beating London rivals West Ham United 4-0.
Kim Little hit a brace including her 50th WSL goal as the Gunners restored their three point lead at the top following Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
West Ham had the first opportunity of the night as Arsenal didn’t deal with a corner well, the ball falling for Claudia Walker who dragged her shot wide of the target from close range.
The Hammers then had another opening when Leah Williamson made a rare mistake in giving the ball away, it fell for Tameka Yallop who spotted Manuela Zinsberger off her line but the keeper tracked back on time to stop her effort.
On six minutes after a rocky start the Gunners carved out their first chance of the game when Katie McCabe drove down the wing before whipping a cross in however it was a routine catch for Mackenzie Arnold.
Arsenal then started to find their rhythm when Mana Iwabuchi got away from her marker before her low cross was well cut out by Gilly Flaherty.
On 10 minutes Arsenal were inches away from taking the lead when Nikita Parris was picked out well by Caitlin Foord the English international cutting inside before firing just wide of the target.
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A minute later the Gunners had another good chance via the Australian Foord when she was picked out by Frida Maanum however ,her shot was well blocked from point blank range.
West Ham were growing increasingly frustrated that they couldn’t get a touch on the ball with Hawa Cissoko finding herself in the book with 14 minutes played for putting in a poor challenge on Mead who was scampering down the wing.
Arsenal just kept coming forward like the calvary coming close yet again when McCabe got down the wing before sending in a cross for Foord ,who flicked the ball onto the post and Parris couldn’t turn home the rebound.
West Ham just didn’t have any time to breath ,Arsenal created chance after chance this time it was Leah Williamson who fired wide when Little pulled the ball back to Arsenal’s number 6 and she unleashed a stinging strike that sailed inches wide of the target.
Arnold who was in for a busy evening in the east Londoners goal had to be sharp to stop the Gunners from breaking the deadlock on 21 minutes ,Williamson lifted the ball over the top for Foord who connected perfectly with a diving header but the keeper was we behind it.
Jonas Eidevall must have been wondering if it would ever go in for his side, when Mead became the latest player to be denied this time by the woodwork after getting on the end of a failed clearance before cutting inside and shooting however she could watch in frustration as the ball cracked the post.
The Hammers couldn’t get out of their own half as they had Arnold to thank once again for keeping the scores level as Foord burst down the wing beyond Cissoko ,but was denied by a good save from the keeper after getting her low shot away.
Iwabuchi was next in the firing line towards the West Ham goal the Japanese international made a perfect run into the box to get on the end of a cross from Mead however she screwed her effort wide but should have scored.
Maanum who scored a screamer against Everton last month tried to recreate that same situation after being picked out by Mead from 25 yards out however, the Norwegian thumped her strike over the bar on this occasion.
However on 39 minutes the Gunners finally took the lead via Little following a smart run in behind by Mead who played the ball to the Arsenal captain and she did the rest jinking past a couple of defenders before slipping the ball beyond Arnold and into the net.
Eidevall’s side could have doubled their lead instantly when Noelle Maritz played in a teasing cross for Foord who could only poke her effort wide of the post.
Olli Harder was the first of the two managers that made a reaction when he brought on Grace Fisk on for Cissoko who was on a yellow card.
West Ham began the second half well as they created the first chance when Walker carried the ball forward skipping beyond two Arsenal players who allowed her to get a cross in picking out Dagný Brynjarsdóttir who got above Williamson but failed to get any direction on it as it flew over the top.
However ,Arsenal killed any chance of a comeback on 52 minutes with Little adding her second and her 50th WSL goal after being played in on the right and from a tight angle drilled a powerful drive into the back of the net.
West Ham could have pulled a goal back after Williamson gave the ball away on the edge of the area to Brynjarsdóttir who wasn’t far away with her strike on goal.
Arsenal responded in typical fashion as they burst down the other end like an Olympic sprinter with Mead who cut inside of the left before getting her strike away that was superbly tipped onto the bar by Arnold and Parris couldn’t tap the rebound home.
However ,Mead wasn’t to be denied again as the very much inform English international got on the score-sheet on 61 minutes after Parris drove forward and slipped in a magnificent pass for Mead to thump into the net.
Eidevall then looked to his bench making a double substitution bringing off Little and Foord replacing them with Vivianne Miedema and Lia Walti.
Arsenal took their foot of the gas slightly but could have had a fourth when Maanum decided to have a go from the edge of the area but she failed to connect with the ball cleanly and dragged it wide.
Eidevall made a further two changes on 72 minutes as Williamson and Iwabuchi were replaced by Jordan Nobbs and Simone Boye Sorensen.
West Ham kept going despite being 3-0 down as Kate Longhurst whipped in a ball aiming for Yallop but it was a comfortable claim for Zinsberger in the end.
Arsenal then made their final change with the impressive Parris coming off for the final 15 minutes being replaced by Steph Catley.
The Gunners were so close to scoring the perfect team goal on 83 minutes when Nobbs and McCabe linked up before the Republic of Ireland captain worked the ball to Catley who’s cross was just hit over the head of Miedema.
However, it was 4-0 on 84 minutes as the unfortunate Fisk turned the ball into her own net ,Miedema broke forward before teeing up Mead who’s cross was diverted into her own net by the West Ham defender after sticking a leg out.
Arsenal had the final chance of what was a complete performance from the league leaders when Mead was played in before cutting inside but her low effort was well blocked by Flaherty.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson (Boye Sorensen 71), Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Iwabuchi (Nobbs 71), Little (Walti 62),Maanum, Mead, Foord (Miedema 62), Parris (Catley 74).
Unused substitutes: Williams, Stenson, Patten.
West Ham United: Arnold, Longhurst (Joel 90), Flaherty , Cissoko (Fisk 46), Wyne (Parker 72),Yallop, Brynjarsdóttir (Fillis 66), Svitkova,Stringer , Hasegawa,Walker (Garrard 90).
Unused substitutes: Leat and Cairns.
Referee- Kirsty Dowle