Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Arsenal: Gunners extend winning run in Women's Super League

Stina Blackstenius scores Arsenal's first goal at Brighton
Stina Blackstenius scored in a third successive WSL game

Second-placed Arsenal secured a fifth consecutive Women's Super League win as strikes from Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum gave them victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Broadfield Stadium.

Sweden forward Blackstenius capitalised on generous defending to curl the opener beyond goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley at the second attempt in front of a record sellout crowd for the Seagulls in Crawley, before Foord curled in from long range with 10 minutes remaining and Maanum added a third in stoppage time.

Beth Mead made her first start for Arsenal since returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury which sidelined the England forward for 11 months before her return as a substitute in October.

Brighton, who won at title hopefuls Manchester City a week earlier, came close to equalising when Manuela Zinsberger pushed Elisabeth Terland's strike away when the forward was released by Guro Bergsvand's through ball.

Alessia Russo produced a timely challenge to prevent Terland from profiting in front of goal after Maria Thorisdottir ventured forward and attempted to feed the Norway striker during the second half, with Bergsvand heading the ensuing corner over the crossbar.

Russo was inches from doubling Arsenal's lead when the summer signing failed to cleanly connect with Victoria Pelova's cross shortly before Foord's classy finish.

Russo's cross set up Cloe Lacasse to provide fellow substitute Maanum with the chance to slot in, as Arsenal ensured they have won all six of their WSL trips to Brighton without conceding a goal.

The hard-fought victory moves Arsenal three points behind leaders Chelsea and four clear of Manchester United, who host Manchester City later on Sunday, while Albion remain eighth.

Brighton return to Broadfield Stadium when they host West Ham in the Continental Tyres League Cup on Wednesday, before Arsenal visit Southampton in the competition the following night.

Arsenal fans show their support following the team's victory during the Barclays Women's Super League football match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal FC at Broadfield Stadium
Both sides received fervent backing on a historic day for Brighton

Record crowd 'special' - Eidevall

The crowd of 4,921 was a new high at Broadfield Stadium for Brighton, creating a boisterous atmosphere and a fourth successive record attendance at a game involving Arsenal as the visitors.

Backed by a sizeable contingent of their own supporters, Arsenal's record of avoiding defeat in their previous 41 WSL matches when they have scored first made it likely they would extend a record unbroken since a defeat by Manchester City in December 2020.

"It's huge for us because the support is tremendous and helps us so much," Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall said of their backing. "With what we're trying to build and what we as a club can capitalise on, it's unique and special."

Eidevall also reflected on Arsenal's landmark attendances at their Emirates Stadium home, where their crowd of 47,367 broke the WSL record by almost 10,000 people against Tottenham in September 2022 before they eclipsed it again in front of 54,115 supporters when Aston Villa arrived on the opening day of this season in October.

"That momentum for the club and that investment that so many fans have in the team is so important," said Eidevall, who hopes they will repeat the feat when Chelsea visit the Emirates on 10 December.

"Maybe that's the most important thing we have right now at Arsenal women. If we look to the future and think about what could make Arsenal the best club, if we can have that fan support and grow it even more, we should be able to lead the way."

Counterpart Melissa Phillips could not guide Brighton to successive WSL wins for the first time since March 2022, but believes supporters have appreciated Albion's displays.

"The fans have been really excited about the performances, despite the results," said Phillips.

"They are a huge part of that. We love that it's a packed house and can't thank them enough for their support."