Arsenal are “praying” Women’s Super League title rivals Chelsea slip up, England forward Beth Mead said after the Gunners maintained the pressure with a routine 3-0 victory at Everton.
Mead, 26, scored her 50th goal in the competition and broke Karen Carney’s record of 35 assists when setting up Jordan Nobbs for Arsenal’s third goal.
Caitlin Foord had put the Gunners ahead following Leah Williamson’s long pass.
Arsenal are a point behind Chelsea with three league games left for both sides.
“We’ve had a good season but we haven’t come away with anything right now,” said Mead, whose side went out in the Champions League quarter-finals and FA Cup semi-finals after losing in last year’s final in December.
“We’re very critical of ourselves, we expect to win trophies and we have a long way to go but hopefully we’re building something special.
“The pressure is on. We just have to control what we can do and get the three points each game and we’re praying Chelsea slip up.”
Earlier on Sunday, Chelsea went a goal down in their match at Tottenham and also had a player sent off goal recovered to win 3-1 to stay in control of the title race.
Everton, who have now scored only once in six games in all competitions, had only one shot – in second-half stoppage time – and did not have a corner the entire match.
The hosts were lucky to not fall behind in the 29th minute when Stina Blackstenius put the ball in the net but was adjudged offside.
Mead shot just wide soon after before England captain Williamson’s fine long ball, from inside his own half, was expertly brought down by Foord with his scoring from a narrow angle.
Mead doubled Arsenal’s lead midway through the second half before Nobbs also reached the 50-goal landmark shortly afterwards when she provided a fine finish to curl the ball into the top corner.
Arsenal have been champions 15 times but still need Chelsea to drop points in one of their last three matches – Tottenham at home on Thursday, Birmingham away on Sunday or Manchester United on 8 May – to have any chance of winning the league for the first time since 2018-19.
Gunners manager Jonas Eidevall, speaking to Sky Sports, said: “We’re in the title race and fighting to be champions. Last season the team was fighting to get third place.
“It’s much more fun to be fighting for the title and if anyone had told us that before the season we would’ve taken it, so let’s enjoy it.”
Everton have won only five league matches this season and are 10th.
Interim manager Chris Roberts said: “There’s a lot of really good things here but the table doesn’t lie.
“It hasn’t been a good season and we’re lacking pace in certain parts of the pitch. It’s not through a lack of effort, the girls are working really hard.”
- 17GrahamSubstituted forDalídid 79′minutes
- 9DugganSubstituted forMagilldid 60′minutes
- 10LittleSubstituted forIwabuchidid 79′minutes
- 13WaltiSubstituted formaanumdid 88′minutes
- 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forMcCabedid 65′minutes
- 11MiedemaSubstituted forParisdid 79′minutes
- 19FordSubstituted forNobbsdid 65′minutes
Match ends, Everton Women 0, Arsenal Women 3.
Second Half-ends, Everton Women 0, Arsenal Women 3.
Attempt saved. Poppy Pattinson (Everton Women) header from the center of the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Leonie Maier with a cross.
Offside, Everton Women. Simone Magill tries a through ball, but Kenza Dali is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Leah Williamson (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the center of the box is too high. Assisted by Nikita Parris with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Frida Maanum replaces Lia Wälti.
Corner, Arsenal Women. Conceded by Gabrielle George.
Attempt blocked. Nikita Parris (Arsenal Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Leah Williamson.
Attempt missed. Katie McCabe (Arsenal Women) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Beth Mead.
Attempt blocked. Stephanie-Elise Catley (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Beth Mead.
Foul by Nikita Parris (Arsenal Women).
Poppy Pattinson (Everton Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Mana Iwabuchi replaces Kim Little.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Nikita Parris replaces Vivianne Miedema.
Substitution, Everton Women. Kenza Dali replaces Lucy Graham.
Attempt missed. Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Leah Williamson.
Attempt saved. Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Beth Mead.
Goal! Everton Women 0, Arsenal Women 3. Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the center of the box to the high center of the goal. Assisted by Beth Mead.
Lia Wälti (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Hanna Bennison (Everton Women).