arsenal women everton women FAWSL match analysis
This article originally featured on wearethearsenal.uk, our analysis site dedicated entirely to Arsenal.

Returning to FAWSL action, Arsenal Women took their winning run to eight in the league with a 4-0 victory over Everton Women. The win also took Arsenal Women six points clear at the top of the league. As has been the case in recent weeks, Arsenal Women went in as favourites.

Knowing this, it wasn’t a surprise to see the way Everton treated the match. However, what possibly was surprising was long Montemurro’s side took to assert themselves on the match. Similar to the games against Bristol City Women and Birmingham City Women, Everton held steady for most of the first half.

Here’s how they did that:

Everton’s Setup

Coming into this game off the back of that loss to Yeovil and bottom of the league, Everton’s approach was clear from the off. They were happy to concede possession to Arsenal and crowd the middle and defensive thirds.

Although this did slow Arsenal down, they still tried to play through the traffic. Here’s how that went for the most part:

Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Everton are organised in their banks of four, but Leah Williamson is confident enough to play the ball into Jordan Nobbs. There isn’t much space for Nobbs to operate in.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Gabby George steps in as another Everton player does to win the ball. Despite shutting out Nobbs, the ball drops back to Dominque Bloodworth in a massive space.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Bloodworth tries to play Vivianne Miedema through but similar to George, Everton’s defender anticipates the pass and clears.

In the first half, despite allowing Arsenal possession, Everton were effective in clogging up spaces and stopping Arsenal before anything got too serious.

Kirstie Levell also deserves a lot of credit as she pulled off numerous saves to keep Everton in the first half. Here’s just one example:

Beth Mead Being Direct

Despite Arsenal taking until the 44th minute to score, one player who kept asking questions during the first half was Beth Mead. Becoming a real force out wide she was direct and unpredictable. Although this sounds simple, to make it so effective is a great asset, especially for someone who is a striker.

Here’s how she kept the Everton defence guessing:

Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Playing off the left, Mead freezes the defender before skinning past her towards the byline.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Despite being on her weaker foot, she’s able to get a cross into a dangerous area. The keeper punches towards Nobbs who isn’t able to hit the target.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Here Mead tricks the right back by feigning to go down the line before cutting back. She then crosses to Miedema whose effort goes just wide.

A bright spark on the left, Mead’s highlights came when she roamed off that side. On the right she had a part to play in the early build up to the opener as well as Arsenal’s second goal:

Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Now on the right, Mead acted as a more traditional winger. Her run in behind was found well before she cut the ball back across goal.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Miedema then laid the ball off to Nobbs who finished to put Arsenal 2-0 up.

Although she may not be getting as many goals as last season, Mead has been incredibly important to Arsenal this season. Everyone knows she’s a capable goal-scorer but on the wing we get to see how varied her skill set is. From taking players on to delivery, she has been impressive out wide for Arsenal Women this season which has seen her feature there for England too.

Off The Ball Runs From Deep

Everything may seem positive with Arsenal Women at the moment, but injuries are stacking up. Nobbs was the latest to add to that last after being stretched off yesterday. Currently on nine FAWSL goals, she’s been crucial to Montemurro’s side’s initial success this season as one of the two more attack-minded midfielders.

Next to her stands Danielle van de Donk who has also been prolific this season with seven goals and two assists in eight games.

Here’s a part of her game that can help massively in Nobbs’ absence and is already making a difference.

Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Bursting forward off the ball from midfield, her run is almost impossible to track. This allows Arsenal to get in behind the Everton defence with two simple passes.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Having drawn Everton’s centre back and left back out of position she can now do damage. She sees Nobbs’ clever run and clips the ball into the space inside the box.
Everton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women Beth Mead Danielle van de Donk FAWSL Tactical Analysis
Nobbs then has time to pick out Miedema who bags her 13th league goal of the season.

Without question, Nobbs’ influence on games will be sorely missed, but in van de Donk, Arsenal have a midfielder who is offering a similar level of performance. She’s able to get up and down the pitch and makes impacts games positively. However, whether the next player to fill in for an attacking midfielder can do the same is to be seen.

With Kim Little and Nobbs out this could prove to be a pivotal moment in Arsenal’s season.

Summary

The overall Arsenal performance against Everton was efficient. It wasn’t a perfect match from start to finish but what they showed was an unwillingness to stop trying. This was most evident towards the end of the first half and paid off with van de Donk’s opener a minute before the break. We also saw spells of trends set in previous matches but not for as long. The best of these trends was Arsenal’s pressing which returned to complete a quickfire double and make it 3-0:

So, Arsenal Women continue to march on, lets see if it all stays that way against Brighton.

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