We began our defence of the Women’s Super League title with a deserved 2-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday.
Last season’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema was unavailable due to injury, but that didn’t stop us from delivering a free-flowing attacking performance, with Beth Mead right at the heart of it.
We wasted no time in testing the Hammers’ defence and found our reward in the 14th minute, when Mead rolled the ball out from under her feet and fired a powerful effort into the bottom left corner.
The England international then turned provider for our second of the afternoon, displaying fantastic hold-up play to shrug off her marker and tee up Jill Roord for a debut goal.
Danielle van de Donk had a golden opportunity to increase our advantage shortly after the break, but much to the surprise of everyone at Meadow Park, she was unable to hit the target from six yards out.
This proved to be somewhat of a turning point in the game, as West Ham bombarded us with a number of searching crosses. Adriana Leon hit the woodwork with a looping header, before Martha Thomas pulled one back at the near post.
It was a well-earned goal for some effective direct attacking play, but with the introduction of Jordan Nobbs, 295 days on from rupturing her anterior crucial ligament, we were able to control the game to see out victory and secure all three points.
WHAT IT MEANS
We will now travel to Florence to play our first Champions League fixture in seven years on Thursday.
The game will take place at the Artemio Franchi Stadium with kick-off at 6pm (UK time).
Copyright 2019 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.