Arsenal ended a tough week and two heavy defeats with an easy 4-0 win at home to bottom of the table Leicester.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Frida Maanum of Arsenal celebrates with Mana Iwabuchi after scoring their side's fourth goal during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Arsenal Women and Leicester City Women at Meadow Park on December 12, 2021 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 12: Frida Maanum of Arsenal celebrates with Mana Iwabuchi after scoring their side’s fourth goal during the Barclays FA Women’s Super League match between Arsenal Women and Leicester City Women at Meadow Park on December 12, 2021 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

Arsenal women are now four points clear of Chelsea at the top of the table, after the Blues were surprisingly beaten at Reading on Saturday.

The FA WSL table looks very healthy right now with the Gunners ahead of Chelsea and also eight points clear of third placed, surprise-package Tottenham Hotspur.

It means Arsenal have some room for error. They could slip up once and still be top of the League.

The Leicester game was a potential banana skin, coming after two defeats and the Gunners did a professional job on the night.

The coaching staff did well, preparing for the opposition high line tactics . It resulted in many chances being created, as well as many offside calls.

It was quite a simple game on the tactical side, getting through balls behind the defence, when Leicester were playing high up the pitch, or going around the defence, via the wingers and full back on the classic build-up plays.

This was certainly the kind of game that was needed after playing Chelsea and Barcelona and with two more games coming up.

A five-game sequence over  two weeks is a heavy schedule and the players will definitely need a good Christmas break to recover from a first half of the season that yielded 23 games, without internationals being taken into account.

That’s why it made sense for Jonas Eidevall to make seven changes from the team that played Barcelona on Thursday.

It is also interesting to note that he made sure that no player played the whole 180 minutes in the week. Only two players started the three games. Katie McCabe and Beth Mead and both were subbed on Sunday with half an hour remaining.

Noelle Maritz was fully rested and did not even make the team sheet.

One of the contributing factors on the night was the excellent refereeing from Emily Heaslip, who is a former Tier 2 player and has a feel for the game.

It does help in certain situations and she was really good in her Law 12 application.

BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12: Jemma Purfield of Leicester City reacts after being shown a red card during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Arsenal Women and Leicester City Women at Meadow Park on December 12, 2021 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)
BOREHAMWOOD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 12: Jemma Purfield of Leicester City reacts after being shown a red card during the Barclays FA Women’s Super League match between Arsenal Women and Leicester City Women at Meadow Park on December 12, 2021 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

She did not hesitate to book a player really early in the game for a heavy foul and also booked another Leicester player for kicking the ball away.

When you get a referee who is on top of the things and actually controls the game instead of letting it flow and being lenient with fouls, it creates a different game of football.

It becomes a game where teams can play football instead of being hacked and kicked without punishment for the opposition, while also risking injury.

So ,with Leicester having two players booked by the 6th minute, they were not able to be overly-physical or other dangerous play that is often allowed in the FA WSL.

One Leicester played was actually close to getting a second booking early in the second half and was given a clear talking too. At the time, they were already down to ten players as Jemma Purfield was deemed to foul Nikita Parris, who was going through. It was a typical Denying an Obvious Goal Scoring Opportuniy (DOGSO) red card.

Having a strong referee helps clean up the game of all the fouls and problems associated with them. If consistency to those high standards could be achieved, it would make the FA WSL a better League, as players would be able to express themselves and play football.

Of course, this would be detrimental to the old English ‘get stuck in’ mentality, but at the end of the day, are you playing football to score goals or to kick the opposition into submission?

It is certainly a football philosophy question for the players, managers and referees and looking at what PGMOL does in general, they look to be on side of ‘get stuck in’ rather than playing football.

Otherwise, Law 12 would certainly be applied more robustly in most games and VAR would also get used properly in the men’s game.

Up next for the Arsenal is a crucial Champions League tie at Hoffenheim.

Arsenal just need to avoid losing by five goals to go through to the quarter-finals. That game is followed by another late Sunday night kick-off, thanks to Sky Sports, at home to Brighton.

Should those two games go as planned, we can safely say that the first half of the season went very well.