WSL: Arsenal v Brighton
Arsenal return to winning ways in Brighton victory
Girls on the Ball
28 January 2022
Arsenal moved four points clear at the top of the Women’s Super League with a 2-1 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Meadow Park on Thursday evening.
It was just the Gunners second victory in eight games but they showed great character and spirit to extend their lead at the top of the table against a Brighton side who came into the game following a 0-0 draw with Chelsea.
Arsenal started really well playing with a high press and could have been ahead inside just six minutes, Victoria Williams playing a back-pass that Megan Walsh took her eyes off but it just went wide for a corner.
From the corner it was inches away from being 1-0 for the home team when Vivianne Miedema had her header cleared off the line by Maya Le Tissier.
However despite the early pressure from Jonas Eidevall’s team it was Brighton who took the lead ,when Kim Little gave away a free-kick on 15 minutes following a handball.
As a result Inessa Kaagman sent in a brilliant free-kick for Emma Koivisto to flick the ball beyond Manuela Zinsberger and into the net against the run of play.
Brighton were then forced into a substitution several minutes later ,when Williamson and Megan Connolly collided with the Republic of Ireland international coming off with an injury to be replaced by Aileen Whelan.
Ellie Brazil was the first Albion player to find herself in the book when Arsenal broke forward and Mead was brought down.
On 29 minutes Arsenal put a good move together when Jordan Nobbs got on the end of a ball on the edge of the box ,before picking out Laura Wienroither on her full debut ,but she was denied by a good challenge.
After a quiet period in the game Eidevall’s troops attempted to get themselves going again as they won a free-kick on 39 minutes after Little was fouled however, Nobbs stepped up to take the free-kick but she only found the gloves of Walsh in the Seagulls goal.
Arsenal had the final opening of the first half when Mead found space before clipping it into Little ,but the Brighton defence dealt with it easily enough.
The Gunners started the second half like a brand new team , playing with a much better intensity as Mead slotted a ball into Miedema who failed to get any power behind her shot allowing Walsh to make the save.
Walsh was called into action yet again,when Williamson played a brilliant pass into Nobbs who could have picked out Miedema but had a go herself and it was well handled by the keeper.
On 54 minutes Arsenal were level with Miedema getting on the score-sheet to her relief after Le Tissier fouled Mead on the edge of the area.
Mead took full responsibility in taking the set-piece before whipping it in for the Netherlands striker who poked the ball into the net at the back-post for her first goal of 2022.
Several minutes later and the turnaround was complete when Williams brought down Mead just outside the area,allowing Mead to step up and curl a quite sensational free-kick into the net.
Arsenal really found their stride with Walsh making a good save from Miedema a minute later when she got plenty of power on a strike however , the keeper got across goal well to beat it away.
Eidevall then looked across his bench on 65 minutes when Williamson who is still being managed after her return from injury was replaced by Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Arsenal could have sealed the game with just less then fifteen minutes to go when Miedema found Little as Walsh came off her line, but eventually hesitated ,before the ball fell for Tobin Heath who played the ball to Nobbs who lashed the strike wide of the target.
Brighton where starting to panic at the back as Mead cut inside before having her low shot was blocked by Emma Kullberg.
Heath was then substituted in the 77th minute as she was replaced by Nikita Parris after the USA international put in a really good shift.
Brighton were still very much in the game when Emily Simpkins spotted Zinsberger off her line but she snatched at her effort and the ball sailed over the top.
Arsenal then made another change bringing off Lia Walti replacing her with Frida Maanum with less than ten minutes to go.
Arsenal didn’t really create all that much seeing out the win,but they did have a scare when Williams nearly got on the end of a free-kick but the ball skipped away off the surface and bounced behind.
A big three points where sealed from the Gunners as they went four points clear of nearest rivals Chelsea who moved into second after their 2-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday night.
Arsenal are next in action on Sunday afternoon in the FA Cup against London City Lionesses.
Zinsberger (GK), Wienroither, Williamson (Wubben Moy '65), Rafaelle, Maritz, Walti (Maanum '82), Nobbs , Little (C), Heath (Parris '77), Miedema, Mead
Substitutes not used:
Cull, Head , Boye Sørensen.
Brighton & Hove Albion:
Walsh (GK), Le Tissier, Kerkdijk, Williams (C), Kullberg, Zigiotti Olme (Simpkins '70), Connolly (Whelan '22), Koivisto, Kaagman, Brazil , Carter (Green '70)
Substitutes not used:
Gibbons , Bowman, Bance, Symonds, Startup