Sunday at Walton Hall Park featured two teams that went into the season with similar aspirations but whose paths diverged very early in September. The yellow brick road for Arsenal this season has been a legitimate chance to win its first title since 2018/19, while the rocky route for Everton has featured a battle for continued existence in the Women’s Super League.
With the Gunners at full strength, it was always going to be a difficult contest for the Toffees; at the full 90, the away side came out on top, 3-0. Arsenal held 68% possession, but Everton’s defensive effort nearly kept the visitors off the scoresheet for the first half with the Gunners failing to break the Blues’ defensive shape until the 43’.
Newly-minted England captain and defensive stalwart Leah Williamson sprayed a long ball to winger Caitlin Foord, who needed a single touch to settle the ball and place a shot past goalkeeper Sandy MacIver in the far corner.
Foord’s tally was the latest goal the Merseyside outfit surrendered since conceding in the 74’ against Reading on Feb. 6th. Sunday also was the first time in 39 days the Toffees played in front of their home faithful after a stretch away from Liverpool.
Arsenal attacked early and often Sunday evening, eventually doubling its lead in the 67’ through midfielder Beth Mead. Vivianne Miedema picked out Mead inside the 18, and the England international made no mistake to double the Gunners’ advantage.
About 10 minutes later, Jordan Nobbs struck a close-range shot that flew past MacIver and ended any hope of an Everton comeback. And while a three-goal defeat may seem like a fitting result for a disappointing season, there were some positive moments from Walton Hall.
Defender Gabby George again displayed why she is one of the smartest defenders in the league; the 25-year-old positioned herself in front of several of Arsenal’s 25 shots; winger Hanna Bennison earned a free kick for the home side after a display of quick feet in possession; and MacIver made an acrobatic save late in the affair to keep the away side from depositing a fourth marker.
The Merseyside outfit has two remaining league fixtures — Tottenham (May 1, H) and Brighton & Hove Albion (May 8, A). The Gulls suffered a shock 3-1 defeat to bottom-of-the-table Birmingham City Sunday, so the Toffees could realistically take six points from their final two fixtures.
Here’s what interim manager Chris Roberts had to say after the game: