Arsenal v West Ham United
Arsenal Women 2-0 West Ham United Women
Barclays FA Women's Super League
Wednesday 28 April 2021
West Ham United battled superbly in the pouring North London rain, but were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Wednesday evening.
Goals from Vivianne Miedema and Kim Little were the difference at Meadow Park, but the Hammers can be proud of their performance against a top-tier side.
Olli Harder made two changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Everton on Sunday. Mackenzie Arnold returned between the posts for the first time since February, as she replaced Courtney Brosnan in goal, while Laura Vetterlein also returned to the starting eleven, with Martha Thomas dropping down to the bench.
The home side had the game’s first opportunity inside three minutes, as Caitlin Foord was unmarked inside the area, but her header was well saved by the returning Arnold.
Katie McCabe was next to sneak into the area for Arsenal, as she arrived unmarked, but could only prod her effort wide to the relief of the Hammers' defence.
The Gunners then had the ball in the net on 14 minutes, but the linesman flagged for offside as Foord bundled the ball home.
After that initial surge of opportunities for the home team, West Ham settled into their defensive shape, making it difficult for their hosts to break them down.
Growing into the occasion, they had attacking flurries of their own thanks in large part to their high press. Cecilie Redisch played a lovely one-two with Emily van Egmond, but her cross couldn’t pick out a team-mate.
Unfortunately, the defence was breached on 33 minutes, as Vivianne Miedema cut inside and - with a brilliant effort - found the far corner from range to open the scoring in North London.
Just before the break, Kenza Dali let fly from distance, with her shot taking a deflection. From the resulting corner, Dagny Brynjarsdottir flung herself at the ball, but her header landed wide of the mark.
There was another golden chance for the Icelandic international moments later, as Redisch delivered a sumptuous cross onto her head on the six-yard line, but her effort landed agonisingly wide of the far post, with the half-time whistle sounding moments later.
The rain continued to pour at Meadow Park as the two teams re-emerged for the second half, with van Egmond having the first shooting opportunity. Her strike from almost 30 yards after some good midfield play flew over the crossbar.
Maz Pacheco won the ball high up the field moments later and attempted to play a pinpoint through ball to Brynjarsdottir, but the ball skidded along the surface and ultimately evaded the midfielder.
Arnold was called upon with 60 minutes gone, with the goalkeeper getting down well to spread herself and deny Arsenal forward Beth Mead a goal, which at the time would have been against the run of play.
The Hammers continued with the tenacity and desire they had shown throughout the match, displaying superb work ethic, and they continued to look the more likely side to score next.
However, the home side remained a consistent threat on the counterattack, with Grace Fisk positioning herself well to cut out an Arsenal chance on the break.
Kim Little found the net moments later though, darting through the defence and slotting the ball past Arnold after the Hammers had mostly dominated the second-half exchanges.
Having emerged from the bench in the second half, Thomas then went close, as she combined with fellow substitute Anouk Denton, but her flying header was well saved by Lydia Williams.
Unfortunately, the east Londoners couldn't grab a goal which their overall play merited, but had positives to draw when the full-time whistle sounded.
West Ham United Women: Arnold, Redisch (Denton 81), Pacheco, Flaherty, Longhurst, Dali, Fisk, Cissoko, Van Egmond, Vetterlein (Thomas 56), Brynjarsdottir
Unused Subs: Brosnan, Mustafa, Barker, Beaufort
Arsenal Women: Williams, Maritz (Patten 86), Williamson, Wubben-Moy, McCabe, Walti, Little, Nobbs (Roord 71), Mead (Van De Donk 86), Miedema, Foord
Unused Subs: Zinsberger, Goldie, Maier, Catley, Gut
Booked: Foord 51
Goals: Miedema 33, Little 78