Arsenal ladies got back to league action with a 5-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday.

The players, who were returning from a mid-season break, had spent time in America playing a few friendlies as they looked to get ready for the restart of the league, and they came back in style.

The game got off to the worst possible start for Sunderland when Steph Bannon put the ball into the back of her own net after just two minutes to hand Arsenal the lead at Meadow Park.

17 minutes the same player did the same thing and the Gunners were two up.

A brace from Natalia Pablos Sanchon before the break gave Pedro Losa’s men a four goal lead. Dominique Janssen, who came on in the 71st minute, scored nine minutes later to finish the Arsenal scoring.

Sunderland pulled one back a minute before the end of normal time through Beth Mead.

The win moved Arsenal to fourth in the table but even with a game in hand, they are still nine points behind Manchester City who sit on top of the pile. Speaking after the win, goalscorer, Pablos Sanchon, said “We didn’t start very well in the league. We missed a few points and that’s not very good for our confidence.

“Now, after the break, I think the new players, they are settling in the team now and they are giving really good things to the team.

“I think we are a better team now and we can play like that, so we’re fighting for the league until the end.

“It’s great to be back after the break with three points. We have to be happy with our performance, especially in the first half. We are happy with a win.

“I’m so happy with two goals. I tried to score a hat-trick, but I’m more happy with a win and happy for the team.”

Carlton Fairweather, Sunderland’s head coach, said “The positives from the game were that we came out in the second half and we did really well.

“We got a goal, put them under pressure a bit, created a couple of chances, obviously the one we took from Beth was positive.

“At half-time I told them that we needed to be more ruthless in terms of the opportunities that we get in front of the goal, but also be positive and also make sure that we defend well.

“The fact that we’ve given away two own goals and the deflected goal doesn’t help, especially the first own goal which was scored in under 90 seconds.”