Gunners hold nerve ahead of big week in title race

Chelsea set to play three games in seven days as they chase table-topping Arsenal

Thursday, 10th March — By Catherine Etoe

Arsenal v Reading - FA Womens Super League - Meadow Park stadium

Vivianne Miedema has become the first player to make 100 WSL ‘goal contributions’. Photo: Kevin Hodgson/Sports Press Photo

THIS coming week could well be a squeaky one for fans of the FA Women’s Super League as the title race intensifies.

Table-topping Arsenal kept up the challenge on Sunday with a 4-2 win over Birmingham City that maintained the Gunners’ eight-point lead over second place Chelsea.

The Blues have three games in hand, but with a trio of WSL fixtures in the space of seven days to get through, Emma Hayes’ charges know that any slip-up could prove fatal in their title defence. Arsenal’s win over City, a side that had beaten them 2-0 in early January, was another crucial three points for Jonas Eidevall’s team and a welcome performance on other levels, too.

New signing Rafaelle Souza grabbed her maiden goal for the club, while Beth Mead scored her 50th as a Gunner.

Vivianne Miedema’s 31st-minute effort saw her become the first player to make 100 WSL “goal contributions” with a tally of 70 goals and 30 assists in 83 league appearances.

And while there were a few hairy minutes as Libby Smith and Lucy Quinn pulled it back to 3-2 late on, Australian international Caitlin Foord was cool as you like when she slotted home a 92nd-minute settler.

With the uncomfortable string of results that dogged the north Londoners at the tail-end of the year seemingly behind them, Arsenal are now on an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

Next up in their WSL campaign is a Sunday teatime visit to seventh-in-the-table Brighton, which is live on Sky Sports.

Chelsea boss Hayes, meanwhile, will look to refocus her players after Saturday’s Continental Tyres Cup disappointment.

The former Parliament Hill School pupil saw her team lose their league cup crown to Manchester City in a 3-1 defeat in front of more than 8,000 fans at Wimbledon FC’s Plough Lane.

Tonight (Thursday), Chelsea travel to West Ham looking to reduce Arsenal’s lead at the top to five points. Then, on Sunday, they will take on Aston Villa at Kingsmeadow, before a trip to Everton on Wednesday.

Spurs’ goalless draw with Reading sees them sit fourth in the table, level on points with Manchester United, but they face a tough task on Sunday as they host a resurgent Manchester City in a 12.30pm kick-off live on BBC2.

Related Articles