Pedro Losa’s Arsenal Ladies team opened their league season with a 3-1 win at home against Reading Women on Wednesday thanks to goals from Dominique Janssen, Asisat Oshoala and Danielle Carter.
The manager made four changes from the team that drew against Birmingham with Danielle Van De Donk, Casey Stoney, Katie McCabe and Fara Williams making way for Oshoala, Emma Mitchell, Marta Corredera and Vicky Losada.
Three players did not make the squad, youngsters Chloe Kelly and Vyan Sampson as well as German international Josephine Henning for the second game in a row. She might be injured again following the international break.
The starting XI was: Van Veenendaal; Scott, Rose, Williamson, Mitchell; Janssen, Losada, Nobbs; Carter, Oshoala, Corredera.Van De Donk, Williams and Pablos Sanchon came on as subs while Byrne, Smith, Stoney and McCabe were unused subs.
Van De Donk, Williams and Pablos Sanchon came on as subs while Byrne, Smith, Stoney and McCabe were unused subs.
Jordan Nobbs played in the number 10 position very high on the pitch while Losada was behind her as an eight and Janssen in the number six role. Williamson moved from left-back to left centre-back alongside Rose.
As expected, Arsenal took advantage of one of the weakness from Reading that was seen in the FA cup tie against Millwall with Carter roaming on the right-flank. The Gunners applied pressure throughout the game and were also dangerous when Reading were playing higher on the pitch thanks to the pace of Oshoala and Carter.
Janssen opened the score after finding herself free in the middle of the pitch on the edge of the penalty are and she sent a low shot past Moloney whose dive was not quick enough to catch the ball.
The passing was a bit hit and miss during the game and it was quite clear that Oshoala is learning how to play with her new teammates. There’s no doubt, once they are used to each other, she will do great things for the team with her pace.
The Nigerian forward hit the post in the first half but made amends for it at the beginning of the second half when she went around the Reading goalie and tapped into the empty net. That early second goal settled the nerves until the Royals came back into the game.
Follis was allowed to cross the ball past Van Veenendaal and Boho-Sayo headed the ball in the empty net, beating Rose to it. With the 2-1 scoreline, the team started to get a bit disorganised and nervous. Pedro Losa introduced Williams and Van De Donk to stabilise the side.
Then Arsenal scored the third from a set piece with Carter heading an excellent Corredera corner to seal the three points and put Arsenal Ladies at the top of the table as rivals City only beat Notts County by 1-0 and Liverpool defeated Birmingham by the same scoreline.
Overall it was a good performance and an excellent result. There are many things to work on as it is the beginning of the season and the next game away to Manchester City will be a big test, as it is a potential title decider early in the season.