Arsenal made it eight wins from eight games with a 4-0 win over Everton on Sunday afternoon, keeping the most in-form team around clear at the top of the table but a serious injury to Jordan Nobbs took the gloss of a great win.
Arsenal lined up looking like 11 tubes of toothpaste, inexplicably wearing their away kit when they could have wore red and white and it took just three minutes for Jordan Nobbs to test the keeper, driving from the edge of the box to win a corner as her shot was parried away.
That was not, however, an accurate indicator of how the first half would develop.
Everton sat back, keeping their shape and looking to hit on the break and they certainly offered a threat at times. Hannah Cain went close, as she would throughout the match as Everton’s main threat, forcing van Veenendaal into a save early on.
Throughout the first half, Arsenal struggled to find their rhythm although they dominated possession. Towards the end of the first 45, Everton somehow kept the scores level with a series of great saves and last-ditch blocks to deny the Gunners when it seemed inevitable that they would open the scoring.
Vivianne Miedema was denied her 12th goal of the season by an inspired Everton keeper, Kirsty Levell, but with just 90 seconds left until the break, the ball broke to Danielle van de Donk wide of the far post and she made no mistake. Her rifled finish into the roof of the net gave Levell no chance and Arsenal finished the first 45 1-0 up and on course for their eighth straight league win.
It took Arsenal just three minutes of the second half to double their lead. Good work down the right from Beth Mead got the ball into the box and Miedema’s outstretched leg controlled the ball for Nobbs to side-step a few challenges before slotting home her ninth of the season.
Two minutes later Miedema did get her 12th of the season as Everton were punished for taking too many touches at the back, presenting one of the most deadly forwards on the planet with a simple chance.
Nobbs and Miedema then combined again to make it four, the former picking out the latter in the middle who made no mistake. It was Arsenal’s 50th goal of the season and we aren’t even out of November.
With 20 minutes left, Ava Kuyken replaced Emma Mitchell, a chance to offer the 17-year-old more senior minutes in a game that was done and dusted. Arsenal then handed a senior debut to Paige Bailey-Gayle, an England u17 international who replaced van de Donk with 14 minutes remaining.
As the game was petering out, Nobbs went into a tackle and came out in a heap as her knee joint opened up. A deathly silence descended around the ground as the stretcher came on and the oxygen came out. She was, thankfully, sitting up before she was stretchered from the pitch but it is another injury at a time when Arsenal are already thin. Given how influential Nobbs is in this side, we can all only hope it was not as serious as it first appeared.
Teenager Ruby Grant replaced Nobbs, the second debutant of the day.