OKBET BALL SPORTS : Arsenal beat Liverpool 2-0 in the WSL courtesy to goals from Lia Walti and Frida Maanum in the first half. Manchester United edged Leicester 1-0 thanks to a header from Nikita Parris. West Ham won 3-2 over Reading; Arsenal and United are still tied for first.
Two teams, Arsenal and Manchester United, maintained their perfect starts to the WSL season with victories against Liverpool and Leicester, while Chelsea remained in second place with a victory at Brighton.
Despite a hard-fought 2-0 victory against Brighton, Chelsea kept pace with leaders Arsenal and second-place Manchester United, behind whom they trail only on goal difference after playing one more game.
After having penalty requests for Victoria Williams’ tackle on Jessie Fleming turned away in the first half and having Beth England’s 47th-minute goal ruled out for offside with Seagulls keeper Megan Walsh holding strong, the much-changed champions experienced a difficult evening for lengthy stretches.
After Niamh Charles’ effort in the 58th minute struck the underside of the crossbar, England touched it in, and then four minutes later, replacement Pernille Harder added another to seal the deal.
We were deserving victors.
Chelsea general manager Paul Green:
“We were very deserving of the victory, deserving champions.
“Difficult destination to visit, difficult circumstances in Paris on Thursday night, returning home early on Friday. We only had one day to prepare for this game, so we are ecstatic to have won. In the past, we battled in this area, and tonight we had to be patient, but we persevered and gained the opening via Beth and sealed it through Pernille.
“Beth joining the club, along with a few others, have performed admirably and shown the quality and depth of our group, which will be crucial because it’s going to be a long season and we want to contend for all of the trophies we’re in. We are thrilled that Beth scored and that Pernille sealed the deal for us.”
Arsenal reclaims the top spot
Arsenal regained the top spot in the Women’s Super League after defeating Liverpool 2-0 at Prenton Park for their record-tying 12th consecutive league win.
The visitors led 2-0 at the break courtesy to goals from Lia Walti (15) and Frida Maanum (22), the former with a well-executed volley before the latter increased their lead with an impressive solo effort.
In front of a record WSL attendance at Tranmere Rovers, Jonas Eidevall’s squad achieved a record-extending 10th consecutive WSL clean sheet, claiming all three points.
As a consequence, Arsenal returned to the top of the league, where Manchester United joined them following their 1-0 victory against Leicester City.
How Arsenal returned to the WSL summit
Vivianne Miedema was relegated to the bench, while Manuum retained her starting position, as Eidevall choose to continue with the same starting lineup that dominated European champions Lyon 5-1 in midweek.
Despite Liverpool’s impressive start in front of a record crowd of 3,348, Eidevall’s actions were quickly vindicated.
Megan Campbell blocked Beth Mead’s sixth goal of the season, while Caitlin Foord’s extended toe almost missed Stina Blackstenius’ cross.
However, Arsenal took the lead in the 14th minute when Steph Catley’s corner kick was only partially cleared and Walti scored with a beautiful shot through a packed penalty area.
Arsenal VS Brighton
Manuum made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute when she demonstrated her strength by brushing from two opponents and firing a shot past Rachael Laws.
Two minutes later, with Liverpool on the ropes, Foord cut in from the left and blasted a shot that struck the outside of the far post.
Liverpool, which has yet to score from open play this season, fought valiantly but failed to generate chances, missing the speed and finesse necessary to penetrate Arsenal’s defense.
Their greatest opportunity came when Catley stopped Taylor Hinds’ low cross and was pleased to see the ball bounce just wide of the goal after looping up and beyond the helpless Manuela Zinsberger. The half concluded with Arsenal’s Kim Little firing over.
Catley seemed to hit her own arm with a clearing three minutes into the second half, but referee Anthony Backhouse was not there, and Zinsberger saved from Emma Koivisto when the ball went to Liverpool’s Finnish right-back.
Arsenal were more subdued after the interval as Liverpool had more time on the ball, although Laws was forced to make a brilliant stop from Foord when Mead raced forward just after the hour mark.
13 minutes from time, Eidevall substituted Miedema for Mead, who was denied by Laws from close range in stoppage time.
In the words of Eidevall: “I want trophies, not records.”
Despite Arsenal’s record-tying streak, head coach Jonas Eidevall stated that all that matters to him is trophies, not records.
When questioned about his record collection, he remarked, “That doesn’t fill the trophy cabinet.” Inevitably, setting these benchmarks improves the prospects of us doing something noteworthy together. The reality is, however, that it doesn’t affect me at all.
When asked whether Maanum’s play had made it more difficult for Miedema to return to the starting lineup, Eidevall replied, “Everyone at Arsenal needs to work hard, it’s a duty that comes with representing this club, in training and games we are a team, we go 100 per cent.”
“That’s not just for Viv, it’s for everyone.”
We should have been penalized, Beard.
A record attendance of 3,348 saw Liverpool lose their third consecutive league game despite the support of the home fans.
Liverpool’s head coach Matt Beard was frustrated that his team wasn’t awarded a penalty after Steph Catley accidentally made contact with her own arm while making a clearing at the start of the second half.
“I think we did quite well throughout the course of the game,” he remarked. It’s challenging when you’re up against the best squads. Everything Arsenal touches right now turns to gold, I told the girls before halftime.
The referee missed a blatant penalty, and we didn’t get lucky. Referee Anthony Backhouse’s interpretation bothers me; he thought the ball rebounded and struck her, but she kicked it instead, damaging her arm. The outcome of the game may have been different with such information.
The second goal was a crushing blow, but I felt we bounced back nicely from it.
United defeat Leicester by a single goal, while West Ham beat Reading in a thrilling five-goal match.
Manchester United’s stellar start to the season continued on Sunday with a 1-0 victory against bottom-dwelling Leicester due to a goal from Nikita Parris. However, United would have hoped for more goals to push them clear at the top of the table.
Parris scored her first goal in the WSL for her new side after signing in the summer from Arsenal, and it proved to be the game-winner in a fiercely contested match at the King Power Stadium.
After that, United faced very few threats, and Marc Skinner’s club eventually tied Arsenal in both points and goal differential.
At Victoria Road, West Ham were almost eliminated from playoff contention as Reading rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win 3-2 in the final minutes of play. After Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s early header put the Hammers ahead, Viviane Asseyi quickly added a second, and the home team held on for a 3-2 victory. They are now in fifth position with nine points, behind Everton (who defeated Aston Villa 1-0 on Saturday) by goal differential.