December 6, 2020 by Stephen L Wright
As Carla Ward has said, December is going to be a tough month in the League and it began with today’s visit to Arsenal. The match statistics show how tough it was with the hosts having three quarters of the possession and coming away with all three points from three goals.
All that said, Blues did not make the win an easy one. Arsenal may have spent the majority of the first half in and around Blues’ area but the visitors kept a strong shape and defended brilliantly against a storm of attempts on goal, including a few shots hit wide by Miedema et al. Hannah Hampton was superb, plucking the ball from the air or getting down to snaffle it from amongst the boots. But her ‘moment’ was saving Kim Little’s penalty, and this clearly rattled Arsenal and put some fire into Blues. Destiney Touissant, making her second appearance, also impressed moving from front to back and playing a strong role in supporting the defence on the right. It was a bruising first half, particularly from the Blues who got a little too physical in some of their tackles and were lucky to not go into the dressing room with yellow cards hanging over them.
The second half began better for Blues and they began to put together passes and move the ball into the Arsenal half. Sadly, it didn’t last long as Arsenal built from the back and worked their way back to the Blues’ area. The defensive shape stayed strong but goals started to come. Caitlin Foord nodded in with help from the post. From the front edge of the area Jill Roord hit a tidy chip over the defence and Hampton. Then a controversial hand ball decision against Rachel Corsie (the ball hit her arm from a ricochet at close range giving her no chance to get her arm out of the way) and Little stepped up for the second time. Hampton went the right way but the ball beat her.
Overall, it was another great display from Blues in the face of a team stronger in all departments. I’ll also point out that both teams have won three of their last five league games. The players will be disappointed, understandably, but they fought hard and did themselves and Carla Ward proud this afternoon.
A surprising result at Reading, where bottom of the table Bristol held them to a draw, mean the hosts just creep back into 6th, with one point more than Blues.
So, next up Leicester in the Conti Cup on Wednesday. The game is being streamed on the club’s Facebook page. Until then…