Second-placed Arsenal secured a fifth consecutive Women’s Super League win as strikes from Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum gave them victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Broadfield Stadium.
Sweden forward Blackstenius capitalised on generous defending to curl the opener beyond goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley at the second attempt in front of a record sellout crowd for the Seagulls in Crawley, before Foord curled in from long range with 10 minutes remaining and Maanum added a third in stoppage time.
Beth Mead made her first start for Arsenal since returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury which sidelined the England forward for 11 months before her return as a substitute in October.
Brighton, who won at title hopefuls Manchester City a week earlier, came close to equalising when Manuela Zinsberger pushed Elisabeth Terland’s strike away when the forward was released by Guro Bergsvand’s through ball.
Alessia Russo produced a timely challenge to prevent Terland from profiting in front of goal after Maria Thorisdottir ventured forward and attempted to feed the Norway striker during the second half, with Bergsvand heading the ensuing corner over the crossbar.
Russo was inches from doubling Arsenal’s lead when the summer signing failed to cleanly connect with Victoria Pelova’s cross shortly before Foord’s classy finish.
Russo’s cross set up Cloe Lacasse to provide fellow substitute Maanum with the chance to slot in, as Arsenal ensured they have won all six of their WSL matches against Brighton without conceding a goal.
The hard-fought victory moves Arsenal three points behind leaders Chelsea and four clear of Manchester United, who visit Manchester City later on Sunday, while Albion remain eighth.
Brighton return to Broadfield Stadium when they host West Ham in the FA Cup on Wednesday, before Arsenal travel to Southampton in the competition the following night.
- 26LiSubstituted forRuleat 45′minutes
- 5BergsvandBooked at 72mins
- 6LosadaBooked at 32minsSubstituted forSymondsat 64′minutes
- 16KullbergSubstituted forPattinsonat 84′minutes
- 11TerlandSubstituted forFerreira Pintoat 72′minutes
- 8BremerSubstituted forLeeat 64′minutes
- 17Ferreira Pinto
- 15McCabeSubstituted forCatleyat 65′minutes
- 32Cooney-CrossSubstituted forWältiat 80′minutes
- 21PelovaSubstituted forKühlat 86′minutes
- 9MeadSubstituted forLacasseat 64′minutes
- 23RussoBooked at 83mins
- 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forMaanumat 65′minutes
- Tim Robinson
Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 0, Arsenal Women 3.
Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 0, Arsenal Women 3.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Sophie Baggaley.
Attempt saved. Cloé Lacasse (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alessia Russo.
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion Women 0, Arsenal Women 3. Frida Maanum (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Cloé Lacasse.
Attempt missed. Katie Robinson (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Tatiana Pinto following a corner.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Conceded by Amanda Ilestedt.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Lee Geum-Min.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Poppy Pattinson.
Foul by Lia Wälti (Arsenal Women).
Julia Olme (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Frida Maanum (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Steph Catley.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Kathrine Kühl replaces Victoria Pelova because of an injury.
Delay in match because of an injury Victoria Pelova (Arsenal Women).
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Poppy Pattinson replaces Emma Kullberg.
Alessia Russo (Arsenal Women) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal Women).
Lee Geum-Min (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion Women 0, Arsenal Women 2. Caitlin Foord (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.