Arsenal climbed up two places in the table and sit on top as Chelsea’s game was postponed and City could only beat Liverpool 1-0, but it was the manner of Arsenal’s win, as much as the 11-1 scoreline, that stood out.
The Gunners are now level on points with City but overtook them with a +19 goal difference against +17 for the Citizens.
Chelsea trail the leaders by two points but have a game in hand as the referee deemed the pitch unplayable in their Everton away game.
You do feel for the Chelsea fans who travelled all the way to Liverpool only to be told the game was off. It is certainly not an incentive for me to go to Everton away mid-December, for sure.
🔝 @ArsenalWFC move to the top on goal difference
— Barclays FA Women's Super League (@BarclaysFAWSL) December 1, 2019
At the bottom of the table, there is a three way battle between Liverpool, Birmingham and Bristol.
Liverpool were defeated 1-0 by City and sit at the bottom of the table with one draw and seven defeats so far.
Their football quality and play suggest they should be higher in the table, but they are still looking for that elusive first win.
Bristol City are two points ahead of them with three draws to their name so far, but the heavy defeats they have suffered in the last three games are as bad as they can be for the team’s morale. Their next League game with be crucial as they will at home to Birmingham City in a typical relegation six pointer.
Birmingham City are the third team involved in the relegation battle, although their position in the table could be a false one as they have a game in hand.
They have already recorded a win so far and,with games against Spurs and Reading in hand, they could get at least three points out of those. Any win would open a big gap between them and the relegation place.
The only negative for them is they have a really small squad with only 16 senior players and injuries will mean they have to play their Academy players like we did last season.
It is a big ask for teenagers to keep a club up.
Another notable and controversial point this weekend came during the West Ham v Manchester United game.
How often do you see a player who should get three yellow cards in a game? Since the Graham Poll days and the WC 2006, not many really, if any.
Leanne Kiernan is shown a second yellow card and has been sent off.
Down to ten for the last few minutes.
2-2  #WHUMUN
— West Ham United Women (@westhamwomen) December 1, 2019
If you look at the video, Kiernan is actually on the pitch celebrating after already being sent off. A player sent off should be nowhere near the pitch. That’s a yellow card offence, so she should have got a third one there. Obviously,common sense prevailed. Celebrating a last-minute winning goal is a joyful moment and it would have been harsh to book her.
If we come back to Arsenal’s game, besides the scoreline, it was actually a masterclass in team play.
I don’t think I have ever seen such fluidity from any team live.
Most of the players roamed all over the pitch as if they had no position assigned. It was organised chaos and Bristol City did not know what to do to mark the Arsenal players.
They were so puzzled that they moved from their 4-3-3 system to a 5-4-1 after 24 minutes.
It didn’t help.
The Arsenal structure could be described as a theoretical 3-4-3 with a diamond midfield, but, in reality, Walti was dropping back as an auxiliary centre-back in defensive situations, while switching back to her defensive midfield position in attacking phases.
It was actually a kind of 1-1-2-6 formation.
Williamson and Schnaderbeck were often in a full-back position, as high up the pitch as possible. The midfield three and front three were interchanging positions freely, pulling the Bristol centre-backs (Sargeant and Matthews) out of position.
That’s why Tanya Oxtoby put Brown as a third centre-back to help in the middle. It is a tribute to the players football IQ that they were capable of swapping positions as a front six to find and create space in the Bristol defence.
We saw something that was as close as possible to Ajax’s idea of total football, where all the outfield players can exchange position on the pitch.
On the day, Bristol City were unable to deal with the waves of red shirts coming their way. Arsenal went round that defence time and time again with most of the goals coming from crosses and pull-backs.
It was a truly breathtaking team performance and when you add a lethal striker like Vivianne Miedema,it becomes a trashing.
The 7-0 victory over Bristol in the Conti Cup was good, but this game was much better.
It is a shame we conceded a goal, as Zinsberger made amends for her error in conceding a penalty, but the rebound fell in the lap on the Bristol midfielder Daniels who finished from close range.
Overall, it was a very good day for the Arsenal, a record-high win in the FA WSL, a player’s unbelievable performance and going top of the table.
The starting 11 by numerical order was Zinsberger, Beattie, Williamson, Van De Donk, Nobbs, Miedema, Walti, Roord, Evans, Schnaderbeck, Mead.
Quinn, Maier and Mitchell came on as subs, Little and Peyraud-Magnin were unsued subs.
The real Special One
I have to give special mention to Vivianne Miedema. Her performance was simply out of this world on the day.
Six goals and four assists (you can see them all here). Simply unbelievable football.
She made the exceptional look ordinary. There was nothing flashy in her play, just a fantastic technical ability and footballing intelligence to provide four assists, using both feet, alongside her trademark, ice-cool finishing.
Her first assist was a classic, how many strikers are capable of delivering a cross with such accuracy with their weaker foot?