Post-Match Report

Report: Arsenal 4-0 Reading Women

Our players celebrate Kim Little's penalty against Reading

Reading FC Women -

Mangata Pay UK Stadium, Meadow Park
Barclays Women's Super League
Barclays Women's Super League
  Arsenal Women
Arsenal Women
4 0
  Reading FC Women
Reading FC Women

We cruised to victory against Reading in the Women's Super League on Sunday night, with our third consecutive win.

Kim Little, Frida Maanum and Leah Williamson all got on the scoresheet in a blistering team display on home soil. 

What happened

As we lined up on Sunday night, there were two changes from the starting XI who saw off Liverpool in midweek, with Lotte Wubben-Moy coming in to earn her 50th WSL cap. Noelle Maritz took her place as left-back and Lina Hurtig and Sabrina D’Angelo also returned to the matchday squad. 

It was a dream start for our Gunners as Frida Maanum poached a misplaced Reading pass and stormed forward. Her through-pass found Katie McCabe in the penalty area, who was then brought down by a flurry of Reading defenders.

The referee pointed to the spot and the rest was inevitable. Kim Little stepped up once again to take the penalty and though Moloney went the right way, the ball nestled in the bottom-right corner to give us the lead. 

In an electric first half, we had countless opportunities to double our lead and had a lot of joy in switching the play to our respective wingers. Some fine play from Katie McCabe to shrug off defenders soon led to Leah Williamson unlocking Caitlin Foord on the right wing. The Aussie's driven cross across the box was a good one but our onrushing forwards just failed to connect. 

Foord soon came close herself with a neat drop of the shoulder and a smooth dribble through the Royals’ backline, but her eventual shot went north of the target. Little nearly got her second after some impressive interlinking play at the edge of the Reading box - her low shot going only a fraction wide of the mark. 

Even our centre-backs headed forward in pursuit of a goal, with Rafaelle's driven strike from outside the area being deflected out for a corner. 

Our Gunners continued to play exquisite, composed football - beautifully weaving passes together as Reading could only sit back and watch. Our patience paid off for the inevitable second goal. Foord released a perfectly slotted ball into the danger zone to find Frida Maanum, who blasted it home from close range just before the half-time whistle. 

We showed no sign of stopping after play resumed, adding to our goal tally almost instantaneously. Williamson - whose incisive passes into the final third helped to earn her a Player of the Match award - fed Maanum through on goal once again. Maanum struck with power and the move ended with ex-Gunner Emma Mukandi putting the ball in her own net.

Our Norwegian spent the game as a false-nine and caused havoc for the Royals throughout. She hit the target once again five minutes later, beating Moloney on the volley, but the offside flag was already raised. 

It was then time to cap off Williamson's stellar performance in midfield with a goal. Foord drove down to the byeline once again and cut back across the face of goal to Stina Blackstenius. The Swedish striker hit the target but Moloney's save only went so far as Williamson, who buried the ball in the net with aplomb. 

With the game put to bed, Eidevall took the opportunity to rotate his squad ahead of our Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich, providing minutes to Victoria Pelova, Kathrine Kuhl, Lina Hurtig and Gio. 

Kuhl, in particular, made an impression on the Meadow Park crowd with her flair. The Dane danced around Reading players at the halfway line and then played an incredible ball through to Blackstenius on the charge. Reading recovered well to avert the danger and prevent Blackstenius' third goal in as many games. 

We continued to dominate possession and attacking chances, but it remained 4-0 at the final whistle - a convincing victory from a team in fine form. 

What it means

After Manchester City and Chelsea both secured victories this weekend, we remain in fourth position but in striking distance from City and United with a game in hand. 

Our Gunners now head into a week-long break before the next big test: Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. 

Team news

Arsenal starting XI: Zinsberger (GK), Wienroither (Pelova, 60), Wubben-Moy, Rafaelle, Maritz, Williamson (Kuhl, 73), Walti (Gio, 83), Little (C), McCabe, Foord (Hurtig, 73), Maanum (Blackstenius, 60)

Subs not used: D'Angelo (GK), Marckese (GK), Beattie

Reading starting XI: Moloney (GK), Bryson, Mayi Kith, Evans, Mukandi, Eikeland, Vanhaevermaet (Troelsgaard, 58), Moore, Wellings, Rowe, Harries (Woodham, 58)

Subs not used: Burns (GK), Wade, Hendrix, Caldwell, Jane, Meadows-Tuson

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