Lianne Sanderson grabbed a hat-trick as defending champions Arsenal maintained their perfect start to the Premier League campaign with a 6-0 win against Sunderland.

However it was Rachel Yankey that got her team off to a flying start in the second minute after she latched on to a pass from Sanderson to strike home.

Sanderson's first came 18 minutes later after a good combination of play between Anita Asante and Karen Carney which ended with Carney backheeling the ball into Sanderson's path. The England striker simply had to beat the advancing keeper.

Yankey and Sanderson then doubled their tallies after 22 and 37 minutes respectively to give Arsenal a 4-0 lead at the interval.

Just seconds before the half time whistle Lyndsey Fletcher was involved in a clash with Jayne Ludlow which saw the Sunderland teenager stretchered from the pitch with a suspected dislocated knee. As a result there was a delay of nearly 45 minutes before the second half could begin.
  
Both teams were obviously shocked by the horrible injury to Fletcher but Sunderland came out in the second half with extra determination and showed great chararcter in trying to keep Arsenal at bay. 

It wasn't till the 62nd minute that Carney grabbed Arsenal's fifth. Then Sanderson completed her hat-trick just five minutes later when Sian Larkin sent in a low driven cross which Sanderson controlled before beating two defenders and firing low into the far corner.

Vic Akers' team now travel to Denmark on Friday for the first leg of their all-important UEFA Women's Cup Semi-Final clash with Brondby IF on November 4. The decisive return leg takes place on Saturday, November 11 at Borehamwood FC, with kick off at 2pm.

Arsenal Ladies

1
Byrne
2
Asante
3
Phillip
4
Scott
5
Larkin
6
Ludlow
7
Grant
8
Sanderson
9
Carney
10
Yankey 55
11
Davison 77

Substitutes

12
Spencer
13
Buet 77
14
Smith 55
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Oct 2006