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Leicester City 0-4 Arsenal: Jonas Eidevall's Gunners reclaim Women's Super League top spot


Stina Blackstenius' scores for Arsenal against Leicester
Stina Blackstenius’ goal against Leicester was her fourth of the season in the WSL, making her Arsenal’s top scorer

Arsenal continued their perfect start to the Women’s Super League season by comfortably beating bottom side Leicester at the King Power Stadium to move back to the top of the table.

Jonas Eidevall’s Gunners dominated from the start, twice going close in the opening two minutes before Frida Maanum fired them ahead with her fourth goal in five games.

Caitlin Foord tapped home Beth Mead’s cross before Steph Catley scored directly from a corner to add a third for Arsenal before the break.

A second-half strike from Stina Blackstenius sealed a sixth win in six WSL games – and a record-extending 14th consecutive league victory in a remarkable run dating back to last season.

The Gunners next face nearest challengers Manchester United, who could regain top spot later on Sunday but would need to beat third-placed Chelsea by four goals to do so.

A seventh successive defeat, meanwhile, leaves Leicester, playing their first game under new boss Willie Kirk, rooted to the foot of the table without a point, and with only two goals to their name.

No Miedema, no problem

Some eyebrows may have been raised at Arsenal’s decision to allow all-time WSL leading scorer Vivianne Miedema a leave of absence to “rest and recharge” this week as they seek a first domestic title since 2019.

But while in past seasons the Gunners have been reliant – perhaps too much so – on their talismanic Netherlands forward, they now have a wealth of riches at their disposal when it comes to goals.

Eidevall hailed the “important” impact of player of the match Maanum, who has played a key role in the Gunners’ recent impressive displays.

“I am very pleased for her because she’s been working so hard behind the scenes to be able to actually achieve these things here for the team,” he told BBC Sport.

“That’s good for the team and it’s very good for her.

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“From a coach perspective, I like to see a lot of the goals we are scoring now and you can see a pattern in the goals.”

The strikes from Foord and Catley mean 10 different Arsenal players have scored in their opening six games, and Leicester simply had no answer to the Gunners’ dual threat from open play and set-pieces.

Arsenal set the tone inside 30 seconds as Maanum’s 20-yarder forced a smart save from Kirstie Levell and, a minute later, Blackstenius’ shot was deflected onto the bar by a Foxes defender.

Maanum broke the deadlock with a tidy finish with the outside of her right boot after Levell palmed out a Blackstenius cross, and Foord quickly doubled the lead from close range after Mead’s fine run.

In driving rain, Catley’s corner evaded everyone in the six-yard box to creep in before Blackstenius rounded Levell from Lotte Wubben-Moy’s ball over the top to add Arsenal’s fourth.

Arsenal could even afford the luxury of a rare Mead miss late on as they eased off for much of the second period with the game already won.

Difficult enterprise awaits Kirk

First games in the dugout do not come much more daunting although Kirk, who took over from Lydia Bedford in midweek, will have drawn some positives from the way Leicester competed against their high-flying visitors.

“It’s not a game you choose for your first match,” Kirk told BBC Sport.

“That’s the best team in Europe so far this season and as far as I am concerned, I don’t think they had to work too hard for their goals which is probably the most disappointing thing.

“We worked hard for over 90 minutes. I thought that was very evident to see. I think we do have a bit to go in terms of fitness so that will only improve going forward.”

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They had a great chance to halve the deficit at 2-0 when CJ Bott surged into the Arsenal area but was denied by a superb sprawling save from Manuela Zinsberger.

Missy Goodwin’s late 20-yarder also forced a smart fingertip from Zinsberger but while Leicester again failed to trouble the scorers, they did defend gallantly to keep the margin of defeat down and remain only three points adrift of Reading and Liverpool in the battle to stay up.

Leicester survived last season despite losing each of their opening nine matches in their debut WSL season, but have now picked up only one point from the past 42 available across this campaign and the end of last term.

Line-ups

Leicester City Women

Formation 5-4-1

  • 28Levell
  • 13SimonSubstituted forJonesat 69′minutes
  • 22Plumptre
  • 5McManusSubstituted forPikeat 62′minutes
  • 15Howard
  • 2Vance
  • 4BottBooked at 43mins
  • 10Whelan
  • 3Tierney
  • 23PurfieldSubstituted forGoodwinat 70′minutes
  • 7FlintSubstituted forO’Brienat 69′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lambourne
  • 6Brougham
  • 8Pike
  • 12Jones
  • 16Jones
  • 20Goodwin
  • 27O’Brien
  • 32Baker
  • 44Scofield

Arsenal Women

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Zinsberger
  • 26WienroitherSubstituted forMaritzat 67′minutes
  • 3Wubben-Moy
  • 7Catley
  • 15McCabe
  • 13Wälti
  • 12Maanum
  • 8NobbsSubstituted forIwabuchiat 68′minutes
  • 9Mead
  • 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forBeattieat 82′minutes
  • 19FoordSubstituted forHurtigat 67′minutesSubstituted forAgyemangat 77′minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Beattie
  • 16Maritz
  • 17Hurtig
  • 18Marckese
  • 23Iwabuchi
  • 40Williams
  • 59Agyemang
  • 61Earl
  • 62Reid

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