Our newly-crowned Conti Cup champions put in a solid performance to secure a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Wednesday evening.
We battled freezing conditions and a resilient Liverpool side to clinch a key three points and a clean sheet at Meadow Park, courtesy of goals from Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord.
There were only two changes to the starting XI that brought home the Conti Cup on Sunday, with Victoria Pelova getting only her second start in the WSL since joining from Ajax.
It was nearly a dream start to proceedings after Katie McCabe drove to the byline in the first minute and played the ball to Stina Blackstenius, whose shot just whistled past the post. We continued to find pockets of space around the Liverpool penalty area, with Frida Maanum also coming close in the opening stages.
It looked as though we'd found the breakthrough in the 24th minute as Victoria Pelova retrieved the ball from the second phase of a corner and whipped a cross into the box for Leah Williamson to tap home. Unluckily for us, the flag was raised.
We did make it count just before the half-hour mark. Maanum raced at the Liverpool backline with acres of space and unlocked Blackstenius at the edge of the box. Our Swedish striker turned her marker and struck - her shot beating Rachael Laws' outstretched hand and nestling in the bottom corner.
Our front four of Pelova, Foord, Maanum and Blackstenius continued to link up well, and we doubled our advantage over the Reds five minutes later. Once again, Blackstenius was instrumental in the attack as she tried to scoop the ball over the keeper's head. Laws parried her strike but only so far as Caitlin Foord, whose looping header made it 2-0.
We headed down the tunnel with a comfortable lead but Liverpool did not surrender after the break. Matt Beard made three substitutions at half-time, switching to a back three, and the formation change bore fruit for the visitors. With more energy and a higher press, the Reds tried to find a way back into the game but our Gunners stood firm.
The second half saw Eidevall introduce January signings Gio and Kathrine Kuhl into the mix, and our young Gunners showed promise. Lotte Wubben-Moy, Noelle Maritz, and Jen Beattie all made an appearance in defence, as the final 45 demanded a different kind of performance from the team to get the win over the line.
Manuela Zinsberger was only occasionally tested between the posts as she bagged yet another WSL clean sheet once the final whistle blew across an arctic Meadow Park. With three points on home turf, our side looks to continue this good form into the weekend against Reading.
What it means
We remain in fourth spot with a game in hand on Manchester City and Chelsea, after the Blues saw off Brighton 3-1 in this evening's other fixture.
Our next outing in the Women's Super League is this Sunday when we'll host Reading. The action kicks off at 6:45pm (UK).
Arsenal Starting XI: Zinsberger (GK), Wienroither (Maritz, 70), Williamson (Wubben-Moy, 60), Rafaelle, McCabe, Walti (Kuhl, 60), Little (C), Maanum, Pelova, Foord (Gio, 70), Blackstenius (Beattie, 82)
Subs not used: Marckese (GK)
Liverpool Starting XI: Laws (GK), Koivisto, Silcock (Bonner, 46), Robe, Hinds, Kearns, Nagano, Holland (Lundgaard, 72), Taylor (Daniels, 46), Humphrey (Campbell, 46), Stengel
Subs not used: Kirby
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