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  • By Football Reporter

Arsenal back on top of WSL as Little inspires Gooners to 4-0 away win over Aston Villa

By Football Reporter

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 4

Mana Iwabuchi came off the bench to hurt her former club as the Japanese international inspired Arsenal to a 4-0 Barclays FA Women’s Super League win over Aston Villa. Carla Ward’s Villa had held the Gunners at bay in the first half, but it was the introduction of Iwabuchi that turned the tide as she scored one and constantly probed between the defensive lines. Kim Little got the ball rolling for Arsenal early in the second half, notching her 150th goal for the club with a sharp finish on the turn, and that appeared to take the wind out of Villa’s sails after a stubborn opening 45 minutes. Still, heading into the final ten minutes, Arsenal only led by a goal, but it was Iwabuchi, combining with fellow substitute Tobin Heath, who made the game safe as she poked home from the American’s cutback after a fine run down the left. Katie McCabe made it three a couple of minutes later, capitalising on a poor pass out of defence from keeper Hannah Hampton and lobbing the retreating goalkeeper beautifully from 25 metres out. And to rub salt into the wounds, Little got her second in injury time, her shot from the edge of the area deflecting off Meaghan Sargeant and over the stranded Hampton. Arsenal have now won four from four in the league and top the table, while Villa’s unbeaten start to the campaign is over. To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit Aston Villa: (5-4-1): Hannah Hampton; Olivia McLoughlin, Meaghan Sargeant, Elisha N’Dow, Anita Asante, Maz Pacheco; Ramona Petzelberger, Remi Allen, Chloe Arthur, Alisha Lehmann; Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah Substitutes: Gemma Davison for Lehmann 81, Shania Hayles for Boye-Hlorkah 59 Substitutes not used: Jodie Hutton, Laura Blindkilde, Freya Gregory, Sian Rogers Bookings: Pacheco 57 Arsenal: (4-3-3): Manuela Zinsberger; Noelle Maritz, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Jennifer Beattie, Frida Maanum; Lia Walti, Kim Little, Steph Catley; Nikita Parris, Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead Substitutes: Mana Iwabuchi for Maanum 45, Tobin Heath for Parris 63, Caitlin Foord for Miedema 63, Leah Williamson for Wubben-Moy 74, Katie McCabe for Mead 74 Substitutes not used: Anna Patten, Jordan Nobbs, Lydia Williams, Viktoria Schnaderbeck, Goals: Little 51, 90+2, Iwabuchi 80, McCabe 83 Referee: Emily Heaslip Aston Villa manager Carla Ward: “For large spells we executed the game plan brilliantly. At half-time we were happy and on 79 minutes we were 1-0 down and wondering whether we put fresh legs on, step onto them and potentially try to go and get something. “So to concede three goals in the last ten minutes is disappointing. But like I’ve said to the players then, there’s large parts they can be massively proud of. The two teams, the clubs are miles apart and credit to Arsenal, they have been brilliant. We’re a little bit disappointed with the manner of the goals, but overall I’m happy with what they have given me out there. “It’s one of those where you go large spells without the ball, when you do get it back, it’s a bit of panic stations. Overall, there’s a lot we can be happy with but we’re disappointed with the nature of the goals and disappointed with the scoreline because with the energy they put in today, I don’t think they deserved to be on the back of a 4-0 defeat.” Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall: “Where do you start with a player like Kim? She does so much, some of the things that you see and some of the things that you don’t see. She is one of those players who is the glue between the different units in the team, in the way she moves and the dynamic nature she has in the game. She’s a player we talk about maybe shooting a little bit more than she has done and I think she has done that brilliantly today. Sometimes it goes directly in, and sometimes it takes a deflection, but it starts with a shot. “Mana Iwabuchi, that was the change I thought we needed. They were so compact with a 5-4-1 and we needed to have special feet to open that up. I think Mana gave us that, I think she was an injection in the second half that helped us start to create more and more opportunities. When we feel we are dangerous, that creates more runs and more movement and once we got that, I think it was only going to go one way.”

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