Heather O’Reilly has praised Sunderland’s defensive line after Arsenal found it difficult to break them down on Sunday.

Despite winning 3-0 at the weekend with goals from Lauren Quinn, Vivianne Miedema and Jordan Nobbs, O’Reilly admits it was difficult to get past the Black Cats’ defensive line.

“We knew that would be the case against Sunderland,” said O’Reilly.
“We had an unfortunate feeling of drawing with them in the Spring Series and it’s a game that we look back on and we wonder if we were able to get one against them we could have come away with the Spring Series title, so I think that we held on to that memory and wanted to make sure that it didn’t happen again today. 

“They have a good tough defensive line and their team knows sort of how to limit chances and I think that Rachel Laws made some really fantastic saves in goal, who we are familiar with. She was able to get some fingertips onto Beth Mead’s early chances and she had a great game, so we’re just happy that we continued to knock on the door and everybody has wonderful skillsets on this team and we need to count bringing the best out of each other.”

All three goals came in the second half once Arsenal had figured out a way past the sturdy Sunderland back line.

The win means that the Gunners rise to third in the FA WSL 1 table with 10 points from five games played, which isn’t perfect. However, the club has recently gone through a bit of a chance considering Pedro Losa was sacked and Joe Montemurro appointed, so it’s a start.

jordan nobbs
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 12: Jordan Nobbs of Arsenal in action during the Women’s Super League 1 match between Arsenal and Sunderland AFC Ladies on November 12, 2017 in Borehamwood, United Kingdom. (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

Sunderland are meanwhile down in sixth and have netted just three goals this season. They’ve also let in 13, which is the third highest amount, so maybe their defensive line isn’t as difficult to get past as O’Reilly claims.

Arsenal’s next match comes against Watford in the Continental Cup on Thursday 16 November. The Gunners won their last clash of the tournament over London Bees 7-0, so should be feeling pretty confident going into it.

However, their next WSL match isn’t until 10 December against Liverpool at home. After that, there’s nothing until January, so a good result against the Hornets should give them a boost ahead of the break.