Written by Oluwaseun Oyediji
Arsenal FC Women made a dream start to its Vitality Women’s FA Cup campaign with a resounding 9-0 win over Leeds United in the fourth round.
Caitlin Foord, Kathrine Kuhl, Kim Little, Lina Hurtig, Jen Beattie, Stina Blackstenius, Michelle Agyemang, and Victoria Pelova all got on the scoresheet, making for an enjoyable afternoon at Meadow Park as we cruised into the next round.
Jonas Eidevall made seven changes to the side that saw off Aston Villa in the Conti Cup in the week, granting full debuts to Gio Queiroz, Kathrine Kuhl, and Victoria Pelova.
Caitlin Foord opened the scoring in the ninth minute after Katie McCabe’s delivery from a corner broke into the six-yard box and the Aussie tapped it past the keeper for a fast start.
Only a few minutes later, Kuhl bagged her first Arsenal goal on her first start. The Danish midfielder, whose intelligent runs, dribbles, and flashes of skill stood out throughout the match, received a brilliant pass from Pelova to drive home inside the box.
Just before the half-time whistle, Caitlin Foord was brought down in the penalty box and without a moment’s hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot.
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Arsenal skipper Kim Little stepped up and converted the penalty in characteristically cool fashion – her fifth goal this season.
With a three-goal advantage at the break, Eidevall took the opportunity for further squad rotation and made four substitutions at half-time.
The visitors defended resolutely under intense pressure and we were unable to break them down again until the hour mark. Lina Hurtig made an immediate impact from the bench, scoring a bullet header at the back post to make it 4-0.
Fresh from announcing her international retirement after an incredible 15-year career with Scotland, centre-back Jen Beattie was next on the scoresheet with an excellent header.
Stina Blackstenius popped up with a lightning-fast brace shortly after and then it was the turn of childhood Gooner Michelle Agyemang, who controlled a loose ball, beat her marker,,, and finished with aplomb.
Victoria Pelova earned her reward for an excellent 90-minute display with her first goal for the club, rounding off the 9-0 win late on.
Manchester United Women are into the last 16 of the FA Cup after a 2-1 victory away to Sunderland on Sunday.
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It was a dominant display from Marc Skinner’s side who, despite creating a plethora of chances, didn’t break the deadlock until just before the half-time whistle sounded, through Nikita Parris.
The Reds were pegged back in the 67th minute after Gabby Holmes’s free header from a corner was directed into the top corner – but that didn’t last long, with Parris restoring the lead just two minutes later in emphatic fashion.
Despite Sunderland’s best efforts to get back into the game, United held firm in the latter stages to secure the victory.
Next up for Skinner’s side is a return to WSL action, with Everton the visitors to Leigh Sports Village next Sunday.
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