We made a dream start to our Vitality Women's FA Cup campaign with a resounding 9-0 win over Leeds United in the fourth round.
Caitlin Foord, Kathrine Kuhl, Kim Little, Lina Hurtig, Jen Beattie, Stina Blackstenius, Michelle Agyemang, and Victoria Pelova all got on the scoresheet, making for an enjoyable afternoon at Meadow Park as we cruised into the next round.
Jonas Eidevall made seven changes to the side that saw off Aston Villa in the Conti Cup in the week, granting full debuts to Gio Queiroz, Kathrine Kuhl, and Victoria Pelova.
Our new recruits looked lively from the start. Pelova came close to opening her account in only the second minute of play, linking up well with Kuhl and unleashing a low, driven strike at Simpson in the Leeds goal.
Caitlin Foord opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Katie McCabe's delivery from a corner broke into the six-yard box and the Aussie tapped it past the keeper for a fast start.
Only a few minutes later, Kuhl bagged her first Arsenal goal on her first start. Our Danish midfielder, whose intelligent runs, dribbles and flashes of skill stood out throughout the match, received a brilliant pass from Pelova to drive home inside the box.
Foord came incredibly close to doubling her goal tally later in the first half, rising for a header and forcing a great instinctive stop from the goalkeeper. Our Aussie forward, leading the line rather than in her usual position on the wing, threatened the Leeds backline throughout the half.
Just before the half-time whistle, she was brought down in the penalty box and without a moment’s hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot. Our skipper Kim Little stepped up and converted the penalty in characteristically cool fashion - her fifth goal this season.
With a three-goal advantage at the break, Eidevall took the opportunity for further squad rotation and made four substitutions at half-time.
The visitors defended resolutely under intense pressure and we were unable to break them down again until the hour mark. Lina Hurtig made an immediate impact from the bench, scoring a bullet header at the back post to make it 4-0.
Fresh from announcing her international retirement after an incredible 15-year career with Scotland, centre-back Jen Beattie was next on the scoresheet with an excellent header.
Stina Blackstenius popped up with a lightning-fast brace shortly after and then it was the turn of childhood Gooner Michelle Agyemang, who controlled a loose ball, beat her marker and finished with aplomb.
Victoria Pelova earned her reward for an excellent 90-minute display with her first goal for the club, rounding off the 9-0 win late on.
The fifth round of the FA Cup beckons for our Gunners. We'll discover who our next opponents are tomorrow, following the FA Cup draw (6:30pm UK).
We're in action next Sunday with a trip to West Ham in the Women's Super League. Kick-off is at 6:45pm.
Arsenal starting XI: Marckese (GK), Wienroither, Williamson (Wubben-Moy, 45), Beattie, Catley, Little (C) (Maanum, 45), Kuhl, Pelova, Gio (Hurtig, 45), McCabe (Agyemang, 76), Foord (Blackstenius, 45)
Subs not used: D'Angelo, Rafaelle, Maritz, Reid
Leeds starting XI: Simpson (GK), Smart, Hamill, Danby (Hannon, 84), Price (Williams, 64), Brown (Soares-Martins, 84), Smith (Underdown, 85), Whitham, Ellis, Hindle (Robson, 64), Woodruff
Subs not used: Beacock
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