Arsenal thumps Aston Villa to stay top of WSL

Arsenal bounced back from a frustrating first half to beat Aston Villa and stay top of the Women's Super League.

Kim Little celebrates after scoring Arsenal's fourth goal. - REUTERS

Little scored twice as Arsenal bounced back from a frustrating first half to beat Aston Villa 4-0 and stay top of the Women's Super League on Saturday, while second-placed Chelsea cruised to a 3-1 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Gunners were held goalless through the first 45 minutes by a dogged Villa defence, but Little made the breakthrough six minutes after halftime for the league pace-setters, and the home side's resistance crumbled in the final 10 minutes.

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Mana Iwabuchi, who spent the first six months of 2021 at Villa, added a second for the visiting team in the 80th minute before substitute Katie McCabe netted a superb third three minutes later.

Little rounded out the scoring in stoppage time with her second.

Earlier in the day, Fran Kirby created all three goals as reigning champion Chelsea beat Brighton to leave it in second place ahead of Sunday's four fixtures on nine points, three points behind Arsenal.

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