Arsenal 2-1 Everton: Gunners add fuel to a well-heated title race whilst proving to be too strong for the Toffees

The stage was set in Borehamwood, as dual pitch inspections deemed the Meadow Park surface ready for Barclays Women’s Super League action on Saturday afternoon in North London.

After what was an undesirable final week of proceedings in 2023 for the Gunners as they fell to derby defeat in N17, Saturday afternoon’s clash with the Toffees would be sure to produce a firing Arsenal side.

ARS: Zinsberger; Fox, Wubben-Moy, Ilestedt, McCabe, Wälti, Pelova, Miedema, Foord, Mead, Russo.

EVE: Brosnan; Wheeler, Finnigan, Bennison, Payne, Galli, Holmgaard, Snoeijs, Olesen, Stenevik, Bissell.

Eidevall’s armoury remain unchanged since their last outing in the Adobe Women’s FA Cup, with Alessia Russo chosen to lead the line, whilst Katie McCabe captained the side.

Brian Sørensen’s side would be making their debut appearance in league fixtures since the departure of Nathalie Björn, as Everton fire up to catapult themselves away from the midst of the table’s bottom-half struggle.

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Tensions rose early, as the home side looked dynamic on the attack. Alessia Russo cleaned up the scraps of a wide battle, before sending an unanswered cross inside of the area that was safely collected by Courtney Brosnan between the sticks for the Toffees.

The Gunners broke down Everton’s press with excellency, before Vivianne Miedema found herself with the opportunity to charge the empty space down the field’s spine. Her ball was a well-weighted one out wide, though Caitlin Foord found herself in an offside position down the left.

The home side kept knocking, tirelessly threatening Everton’s last line. Miedema’s cut-back found Russo with her back to goal, the England international cleverly laying off possession to a luring Beth Mead. Despite finding herself in prime position inside of the area, Mead’s strike was narrowly denied by the woodwork.

After facing an onslaught of recent criticism in terms of her current form, Caitlin Foord made her statement clear. Victoria Pelova carried the ball inside of the 18-yard box, before a clever cut-back allowed Foord to send Brosnan’s net rippling as she opened the scoring.

Despite having hold of the short end of possession, Brian Sørensen’s side refused to turn over. A splitting counter attack saw Katja Snoeijis in an advancing position, and her well-placed strike drew the visitors level at Meadow Park.

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The Gunners were given a chance to pull themselves back in front, as a scuffle inside of the area saw Mead come off best. Despite the one-on-one opportunity for the English striker, Brosnan’s desperate block denied Arsenal of their second.

A late first-half effort by Miedema had Arsenal fans convinced they’d found the lead, though another stellar effort from Brosnan was enough to see the ball cleared of any danger. Despite her best efforts, the Irish international was to be tested once again. This time it was Mead who proved pivotal, her sailing header out the back giving Arsenal the advantage heading into the half time break.

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Arsenal opened the second half with conviction, controlling the tempo with dynamic attacking threat going forward. Miedema found herself dictating the forward motions, as the Dutch attacker laid off a line-breaking ball through to an advancing Foord inside the area. Though to Arsenal’s dismay, Brosnan once again found herself evading the strike from any potential danger.

Despite being on the losing side of a skewed possession battle, Everton’s last line were organised in defence, disallowing any advances from the Gunners attack. Sara Holmgaard proved strong on the occasion, a standout performance within the Everton mix.

Foord saw an opportunity on the edge of the area to add a further strike to her tally, though her long-range effort was calmly collected by Brosnan.

Come the final whistle, Beth Mead’s first half finish would prove to be the difference at Meadow Park as Arsenal claimed an important three points in a hard-fought victory against Everton. The Gunners travel to Reading in midweek for Conti Cup action, while Everton will be heading to Leicester City.