By Laura Knight at Meadow Park
Arsenal Ladies enjoyed a spectacular return to WSL action on Sunday, beating Liverpool Ladies 3-0 at Meadow Park.
In their first game back since the summer break for the Women’s World Cup, Arsenal continued the fine form that saw them claim the FA Cup in their final game in May, outplaying their opponents from start to finish.
Julie Fleeting made the breakthrough ten minutes before half time after she was first to react to a loose ball when Danielle Gibbons palmed away Kim Little’s shot from distance.
Rachel Yankey got the second on the hour mark with a shot that looped over Gibbons into the top-right corner before Little wrapped up the points two minutes from time, driving the ball low into the bottom-left corner.
Fresh from an impressive World Cup, Ellen White was extremely unlucky not to get on the scoresheet after several close attempts and, along with Yankey, produced the biggest threat to the Liverpool defence as they enjoyed some good link-up play with Jordan Nobbs and Little.
Liverpool’s best spell of the game came in the final 15 minutes when a brief spell of possession resulted in three quick corners but Gilly Flaherty and Ciara Grant dealt comfortably with all that came their way.
Arsenal manager Laura Harvey was pleased with her side’s performance and was particularly happy that there was no big upset against a Liverpool side that are bottom of the table and without a win in the WSL this season.
“With the break you’re always fearful that the tempo might not be there for the first game back but I was really pleased," Harvey told Arsenal.com.
"I thought we shifted the ball well and I was pleased that we kept a clean sheet. One thing that we get disappointed about is that we don’t score more goals because we create so many chances and that’s something we really need to work on.
“Any team in this league, if you take them lightly they will punish you. I think we did that a few times in the first half of the season when we let teams back into the game and today it was massive that we didn’t do that so to get a 3-0 victory at home, I can’t ask for any more than that.”
Player of the Match Nobbs echoed Harvey’s opinion. “We’ve been training really hard and I think for the first 20 minutes we showed a very good tempo," she told Arsenal.com.
"It was a good start for us and I hope we can carry it on. I still think we have things to work on, three goals was good today but I think we could have got more, sometimes we need to be a bit more clinical.”
Next up for Arsenal is a visit from Chelsea and Harvey sees it as the perfect opportunity to step up their push for the title and get back into top gear.
She concluded: “To have a little break was nice for us because we’ve been going since last August but I think our preparations have been good and now we’ve just got to make sure we kick on and get everyone fit and ready for Thursday so that we can take on Chelsea.”
Referee: P. Forrester
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