Arsenal reaffirmed their title credentials with a classy 5-0 win over Manchester City at Meadow Park to go top of the Women’s Super League.
Vivianne Miedema opened the scoring in the 10th minute before Kim Little’s superb strike doubled the home side’s lead.
Katie McCabe hit a thunderous third before Little’s second from the spot.
Leah Williamson completed the rout with a stoppage-time header as Arsenal moved top in emphatic fashion.
They climb above Tottenham on goal difference, with both sides having taken a maximum nine points, while City are in eighth after suffering their heaviest ever defeat as a professional team.
Last season’s runners-up have now lost twice in three games this season, as well as being knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid, but boss Gareth Taylor insists it is too early to rule them out of the title race.
He said: “It’s way too early. It’s not great losing our last two league games but I think it’s way too early. It is a short league in only having 22 games but we’ll see.
“We’ll have to be reliant on other teams and we need to put points on the board ourselves. There’s no point looking on other teams at the moment. We need to look within ourselves.”
Buoyed after backing up their opening-day win over Chelsea with a routine victory at Reading, Arsenal unnerved City’s defence from the first whistle, pressing in numbers and forcing the visitors into a series of defensive errors.
And Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall’s aggressive tactics paid dividends when Beth Mead sprung on to an under-hit backpass from Alanna Kennedy, the England forward beating onrushing City goalkeeper Karima Taieb to the ball before finding Miedema, who sent an unerring shot into the corner of the unguarded net.
City failed to heed that warning, however, and found themselves two down when Miedema played in Little on the edge of the area. Despite being surrounded by blue shirts, the Scot created space and lashed an unstoppable shot past Taieb.
The away side, who were without several injured players including England stalwarts Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze, struggled to gain a foothold in the face of Arsenal’s relentless pressing, with Ellen White and Lauren Hemp among those kept quiet by the home side’s defence.
While City tried to up the tempo after the restart, it was Arsenal who enjoyed further success with McCabe putting the game beyond the visitors on the hour mark.
The Republic of Ireland captain latched on to a long ball and eluded Georgia Stanway and Kennedy before rifling her left-footed shot into the roof of the net.
Ellen White came closest to pulling one back for City when she clipped the bar after being found by Vicky Losada, but Gareth Taylor’s side failed to put Arsenal under sustained pressure before their challenge was well and truly ended when Alex Greenwood fouled Little inside the box.
Little stepped up and thumped her penalty into the top corner, and there was another roar from the Meadow Park crowd a few minutes later when two-time World Cup winner Tobin Heath came on for her debut.
Arsenal refused to take their foot of the gas and were rewarded when Leah Williamson headed home to complete a five-star performance and secure their first win over City in four attempts.
Having beaten Chelsea, the manner of this victory further reinforces the sense that Arsenal will be tough to stop in their quest to reclaim the title from the Blues after outplaying City from start to finish.
- 16MaritzBooked at 67mins
- 5BeattieSubstituted forWubben-Moyat 86′minutes
- 13WältiSubstituted forIwabuchiat 86′minutes
- 9MeadSubstituted forHeathat 86′minutes
- 11MiedemaSubstituted forFoordat 78′minutes
- 15McCabeSubstituted forParrisat 64′minutes
Man City Women
- 3StokesBooked at 45mins
- 17LosadaSubstituted forScottat 77′minutes
- 7CoombsSubstituted forAngeldalat 55′minutes
- 11BeckieSubstituted forParkat 69′minutes
- 15HempSubstituted forShawat 70′minutes
Match ends, Arsenal Women 5, Manchester City Women 0.
Second Half ends, Arsenal Women 5, Manchester City Women 0.
Goal! Arsenal Women 5, Manchester City Women 0. Leah Williamson (Arsenal Women) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Noëlle Maritz with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Alex Greenwood.
Attempt missed. Caitlin Foord (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner.
Foul by Georgia Stanway (Manchester City Women).
Tobin Heath (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Khadija Shaw (Manchester City Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Attempt missed. Filippa Angeldal (Manchester City Women) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Tobin Heath replaces Beth Mead.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Lotte Wubben-Moy replaces Jennifer Beattie because of an injury.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Mana Iwabuchi replaces Lia Wälti.
Foul by Alanna Kennedy (Manchester City Women).
Beth Mead (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Offside, Manchester City Women. Jill Scott tries a through ball, but Ellen White is caught offside.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Jill Scott.
Goal! Arsenal Women 4, Manchester City Women 0. Kim Little (Arsenal Women) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Caitlin Foord replaces Vivianne Miedema.
Substitution, Manchester City Women. Jill Scott replaces Vicky Losada.
Penalty conceded by Alex Greenwood (Manchester City Women) after a foul in the penalty area.