It was a weekend where Arsenal re-wrote the record books in the Women’s Super League as they beat Bristol City 11-1, writes Tom Dean.
Vivianne Miedema won’t be at the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday but her incredible haul of six goals and four assists at Meadow Park further proved her credentials as a nominee for the prestigious award.
Chelsea faced a tough trip to in-form Everton but a frozen pitch meant the match was postponed and as a result the Gunners leapfrogged them to the top of the table, level on points with Manchester City who earned a 1-0 win over Liverpool.
There was high drama at Rush Green as Katharina Baunach scored two late free-kicks to ensure West Ham United beat Manchester United 3-2.
And Remi Allen rescued a point for Reading with near enough the last kick of the game after a manic goalmouth scramble.
Arsenal run riot to set goal scoring record
Prior to this weekend the biggest winning margin and scoreline ever recorded in the WSL was Liverpool’s 9-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers Belles in 2013.
Now that record belongs to Arsenal at the expense of Bristol City, who could do absolutely nothing to stop the onslaught on Sunday afternoon.
And as is so often the case these days, Miedema was at the heart of everything scoring six goals and providing a further four assists for her teammates Lisa Evans, who scored twice, Leah Williamson and Jordan Nobbs.
At the time at which she was substituted, the Dutchwoman had a direct involvement in every goal that had been scored but a further Gunners goal from Emma Mitchell and a consolation penalty from Bristol’s Yana Daniels proved that it was possible to score without her – only just though.
Bonner comes back to haunt the Reds
Manchester City were able to keep pace with Arsenal as a Gemma Bonner goal was all that separated them in a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Academy Stadium.
Leeds-born Bonner spent six years with the Reds collecting two WSL titles during her stay but departed for the Citizens in 2018.
The sight of her scoring will have been the last thing Reds fans wished to see, as defeat made it seven league losses and one draw this season to leave them rock bottom of the table.
Frenzied finish at Rush Green
West Ham looked to have been beaten at Rush Green when Lauren James came off the bench and slotted home to put Manchester United 2-1 up with ten minutes left on the clock.
But there was plenty left to unfold for the 1,700 fans who made the trip to Romford as Katharina Baunach’s set piece made its way all the way through the United defence and into the net.
Teenager Leanne Kiernan was then shown a red card for the hosts in the aftermath of a scuffle late on but one minute later Baunach was stood over the ball at the other end with the chance to earn all three points.
And the German produced the goods with a perfect free-kick, up and over the wall into the bottom corner, to send the home fans wild.
The scramble to end all scrambles
If you haven’t seen Remi Allen’s late equaliser for Reading in their 2-2 draw with Brighton yet – you’re missing out.
A scramble on the goal line had Reading players claiming the ball had crossed the line already before it came back out only to be fed back into the box by Fara Williams when Allen, falling to the ground, hooked the ball high into net with effectively the last kick of the game.
Villa stay on track for a merry Christmas
Meanwhile in the Championship, Aston Villa remained on track to head into Christmas unbeaten as they beat London Bees 2-1 at The Hive.
It’s now eight wins from nine games this season from Gemma Davies' side, who have a three-point lead over Sheffield United at the top of the table, with visits from Leicester and London City Lionesses remaining this year.