Arsenal and Manchester City enjoyed important away victories at Liverpool and Tottenham respectively to keep pace with Women’s Super League leaders and defending champions Chelsea.
Vivianne Miedema, who sat out 312 days with an anterior cruciate ligament injury before making an October comeback, netted her first goal since December 2022 at the hour mark of Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at Prenton Park.
Leah Williamson returned from her own ACL recovery as a substitute in Arsenal’s midweek Conti Cup victory over Reading and was named in the Gunners squad by boss Jonas Eidevall – celebrating both his 41st birthday and 100 games in charge – but did not play.
January signing and player of the match Emily Fox was instrumental in the build-up to both goals, Arsenal’s second coming via a left-footed effort from Caitlin Foord as the Gunners became the first side in WSL history to reach 500 points.
The result drew Arsenal level with City on 28 points, three behind the Blues.
City’s advantage on goal difference is largely due to the prolific efforts of Khadija Shaw, who netted her joint WSL-leading 12th of the campaign in her side’s 2-0 victory at Tottenham.
City had won this fixture by a seven-goal margin in November and while Spurs proved sterner opposition this time, Jamaica star Shaw, level with the Blues’ Lauren James as the WSL’s top goal-scorer with Sunday’s strike, still made her mark.
An own goal from Tottenham defender Amy Turner put Gareth Taylor’s side in the ascendancy after nine minutes and Shaw wrapped up the points.
Spurs stay sixth after Robert Vilahamn saw his team’s four-match winning run end despite a solid display at Brisbane Road.
Nikita Parris’ brace made the difference in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa to ease the pressure on head coach Marc Skinner, who had faced calls to leave from some fans.
United, having been cast adrift of the top three after losing three of their previous five league matches, remain 10 points behind the leaders but still in the mix of clubs vying for Champions League places next season.
Both of Parris’ goals came in the first half as United earned only their second home league win of the season, with Rachel Daly pulling one back on the hour mark with a controversially-awarded penalty.
Defeat capped a difficult week for Villa, who are waiting to find out if they will be expelled from the League Cup after fielding the ineligible Noelle Maritz as a substitute during Wednesday’s 7-0 victory at Sunderland.
Elsewhere, Janice Cayman fired Leicester to a 1-0 victory over Everton, the second time the Foxes have defeated the Toffees in five days after Wednesday’s 5-1 Conti Cup win.
Bristol City remain in the WSL’s relegation place and in search of just their second win of the campaign after they fell 2-1 to West Ham in their bottom-two battle.
Honoka Hayashi’s 13th-minute opener was cancelled out by Amalie Thestrup after the restart, but Viviane Asseyi ensured her side would end the afternoon three points clear of their opponents when she fired home to secure an all-important victory in the 55th minute.