Arsenal 5-0 Bristol City: Gunners tighten grip on Europe with Robins rout

Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal strolled to a comfortable victory against Bristol City on Sunday evening, moving nine points clear of Manchester United in the race for UEFA Women’s Champions League participation.

The Gunners remain some way adrift of the title race, with Chelsea still to play their postponed fixture in midweek – but three points at Meadow Park all but guarantee that Arsenal will be travelling across Europe next season.

Eidevall’s absence from the touchline due to a suspension seemed to have no impact on his side’s performance. Beth Mead netted twice in the first half to hand the hosts an early lead, with Ella Powell finding the back of her own net shortly after the half-hour mark to extend Arsenal’s advantage further.

Alessia Russo added to the tally on the hour mark, with her goal rubbing further salt into the wounds of a Bristol City side already seemingly condemned to relegation to Barclays Women’s Championship, before doubling her personal account as the match neared its conclusion.

As it happened

Keen not to be overshadowed by their North London rivals’ historic win against Leicester City earlier in the day, Arsenal wasted no time bursting into life in Borehamwood. With one of the first real chances of the match, Beth Mead picked up the pieces from a deflected Caitlin Foord strike to open the scoring in style.

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The chances continued to flow in – Steph Catley was as eager to get involved as her fellow Aussie on the left flank, and Victoria Pelova rattled the woodwork with a fierce drive from the edge of the box after just ten minutes had elapsed.

Bristol City’s Fran Bentley would certainly be the busier of the two goalkeepers on a pleasant evening in North London, leaping into action to deny Stina Blackstenius before producing a sensational triple save merely seconds later.

The half-hour mark would bring about a further flurry of chances, and the Gunners took full advantage. Mead completed her brace after yet more chaos inside the penalty area, before an own goal from Ella Powell extended Arsenal’s lead to three clear goals following positive play from Catley and Foord on the left.

A tamer start to the second half would see Bristol City force their first meaningful chance of the evening. Jamie-Lee Napier’s ball into the box was a dangerous one, leaving Catley to send it out for a corner and avert the danger.

But on the stroke of the hour, Alessia Russo would write her name in lights as she netted Arsenal’s fourth goal of the evening. Collecting the ball and working her way along the edge of the box, the former Manchester United forward ultimately unleashed an effort that stung the palms of Bentley – the goalkeeper’s grip not strong enough to prevent the Gunners celebrations.

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The damage would intensify less than a quarter-hour later, when the Gunners seemingly plucked a goal out of thin air. Not content with her prior goal, Russo was the benefactor of Katie McCabe’s promising buildup on the right – and the English forward was able to dispatch past Bentley for her second of the evening.

The biggest cheers of the evening from the Arsenal faithful were reserved for the returning Laura Wienroither. The Austrian full-back tore her ACL against Bayern Munich 382 days ago, and after a lengthy recovery process, was introduced into the fold for the final ten minutes.

The lineups

ARS: D’Angelo; Catley, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, Fox; Little, Pelova; Foord, Russo, Mead; Blackstenius

BCI: Bentley; Napier, Connolly, Aspin, Rodgers, Powell; Thestrup, Stratigakis, Syme, Morgan; Evans