Vivianne Miedema scored all four goals for Arsenal as they got their FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup campaign back on track.
Arsenal’s Dutch maestro, Miedema, scored a hat-trick before the break, displaying her unrivalled accuracy in front of goal.
PIVOTAL POINTS IN THE MATCH
The Lionesses started well, buoyed by the FA Women's Championship triumph over Leicester City at the weekend, with Alli Murphy and Liz Ejupi both flashing narrowly wide of Arsenal debutant Fran Stenson’s goal. But once Arsenal settled, the Barclays FA Women’s Super League outfit began to exert their class. Miedema’s first saw her drive at goal from over 20 yards before beating two defenders and hitting home across Shae Yanez in the Lionesses goal.
She added a second six minutes later, finishing from an almost identical position – going from standing to sprint in a heartbeat, which would prove difficult to defend against throughout the time she was on the pitch. The hosts were undeterred but attempting to play out from the penalty area just before the break, Arsenal made them pay. Jill Roord’s cut-back from the by-line was side-footed home by Miedema to complete her hat-trick.
The lionesses weren’t without their chances, Ejupi sending a ball from Atlanta Primus over the bar and two minutes later Alli Murphy’s shot did the same.
The Lionesses boss Melissa Phillips made changes at the start of the second half with Juliette Kemppi replacing Ejupi and Hannah Short switching with Ellie Mason, and there was an instant reaction at the start of the second period. Murphy and Atlanta Primus spurned wonderful opportunities to get on the scoresheet, the latter inviting Stenson to make her first notable contribution to the game through a smart stop with her legs. Miedema cracked home her fourth on 53 minutes.
Lily Agg’s 59th minutes shot, after Hayley Nolan slipped the ball through for her, was saved. Whilst no one was able to get on the end of a great cross from Flo Fyfe. It was a valiant performance for the Lionesses who deserve praise particularly for the way they dealt with the pressure in the second half.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Arsenal’s Dutch striker, Miedema, was a class above for Arsenal against the Lionesses, with the first two near-identical goals showing just how clinical she can be when afforded even a yard of space.
HEAD COACH REACTION
Head coach Melissa Phillips said on Arsenal’s match winner: “Miedema is world class and she tucked away four goals, so they were fantastic individual efforts but games like these we have an incredible opportunity to learn about ourselves. Especially with our Conti Cup group, we’re playing three of the top teams in the country and it’s a great opportunity for us to grow and stretch ourself as a group.”
Being in such a tough group in the Conti Cup what can the Lionesses learn from playing against these top teams and how can they use that in their league matches?
“Yeah we can take most of what we learnt from this game into our next match against Charlton. Every game is an opportunity for us to grow and push ourselves in the sense of definitely being where we can pick ourselves back up, where we got exposed, how we can we be sharper on the ball and build each training session from there into the next match."
When questioned on the couple chances the lionesses missed early in the second half, Phillips said: “The fact we’re getting those opportunities against this quality of opponent is what we measure ourselves by, we’re getting into good spaces, we’re creating opportunities and to be fair we didn’t change who we were to play against Arsenal. We still tried to be who we were and building our identity and we had success from it, so we will take those as the positives.”
Lionesses striker, Liz Ejupi, said: “We always knew they were going to have fluent movement and be really sharp on the ball. I think it’s just a test to yourself, everyone looks forward to playing these games.
“Individually you want to try and compete with these players. I think we did really well, we played our game and that was really respectful that we did play the way we wanted to play – we didn’t allow them to be all over us. I think everyone enjoys it; everyone enjoys playing against teams from the league above. We gave them a good game and if we finished those chances, it could’ve been a different result.”
Asked what the players can take from the game Ejupi went on to say, “The way we created chances, when we relaxed and started to play you could see what we can do. When we rush it, we’re not so good on the ball.“ With no game this weekend the next League match will be away against Charlton on the 15th November. “Playing our football, we can take chances against Charlton", said Ejupi.
“I think today we played our game plan and I think at Charlton we’ll just do the same thing. We’re just building on us, building on our identity, the way we want to play. We’ll bring what we did last weekend into the game against Charlton. I think it’ll be a really good game for us.”
Remaining positive, Ejupi said: “I’m proud of us tonight – we stuck to how we wanted to play and if we’d just been a little more composed, we may have had something to celebrate. Games against sides of this quality are a brilliant opportunity for us to learn and enjoy the occasion, which we did tonight. Yes, they’re a top side but I felt we gave a good account of ourselves. At the start of the second half we had a spell when we might have nicked a goal but that’s the difference. They have world-class players in their side who will hurt you in a heartbeat, and to see that close-up is a dream from a learning perspective".
“We might have lost the game, but we’ll take a lot of confidence from it going into the game against Charlton at the weekend. If we perform like we did here, we know that’s a game that’s in our reach, and that’s now the focus.”
SETL Player of the Match: Alli Murphy
The next fixture for the Lionesses is Charlton in the Championship. Kicking off at 2pm on Saturday 15th November, follow the build-up and match progress via twitter.
London City Lionesses (4-4-1-1): Shae Yanez; Chantelle Mackie, Ellie Mason, Harley Bennett, Grace Neville; Atlanta Primus, Alli Murphy, Hayley Nolan, Lucy Fitzgerald; Lily Agg; Elizabeta Ejupi
Substitutes: Juliette Kemppi for Ejupi 46, Hannah Short for Mason 46, Flo Fyfe for Agg 65, Annie Rossiter for Primus 65, Ylenia Priest for Bennett 73
Substitutes not used: Hope Smith, Leanne Cowan, Freda Ayisi
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Fran Stenson; Katie McCabe, Viktoria Schnaderbeck, Leah Williamson, Lotte Wubben-Moy; Lia Walti, Malin Gut; Caitlin Foord, Jill Roord, Danielle Van de Donk, Vivianne Miedema
Substitutes: Ruby Mace for Roord 46, Kim Little for Miedema 63, Leonie Maier for Wubben-Moy 63
Substitutes not used: Manuela Zinsberger, Lydia Williams, Anouk Denton, Gracie Pearse, Grace Garrard
Goals: Miedema 22, 28, 41, 54
Referee: Robert Whitton