Beth Mead scored twice as Arsenal thumped struggling West Ham 3-0 at Meadow Park in the Women’s Super League.

It did not take long for Arsenal to open the scoring as Frida Maanum put the hosts 1-0 up just two minutes in and Mead got her first since returning from injury in the 18th minute before she tapped in from six yards to make it 3-0 just before the break.

Jonas Eidevall’s team sit in second position and continue to pile pressure on league leaders Chelsea.

Lauren James scored twice as the Blues stretched their winning run to six games in the league with a 5-2 win over Leicester.

Chelsea scored twice in the first five minutes through James and a Courtney Nevin own goal and added a third just before the break through Sam Kerr, just after Jutta Rantala had brought Leicester back into the game.

Sam Tierney netted in the 44th minute to make it 3-2 but Chelsea regained their two-goal cushion when James dinked over the keeper from close range and Aggie Beever-Jones sealed the points late on for Emma Hayes’ side.

Second half goals from Hinata Miyazawa and Nikita Parris ensured that Manchester United returned to winning ways after their derby loss to Manchester City with a 2-0 win over rock bottom Bristol City.

United were denied on several occasions in the first period by inspired City goalkeeper Olivia Clark, who kept out Parris, Leah Galton and Millie Turner.

Marc Skinner’s side broke the deadlock five minutes after the break through Japanese international Miyazawa before Parris added a second as United clinched an away win.

Liverpool picked up their first win in three league matches with a convincing 4-0 win over Brighton.

The Reds carried a 2-0 lead into the break thanks to strikes from Gemma Bonner and Shanice van de Sanden and Ceri Holland nodded in from close range in the second half before Sophie Roman Haug added the gloss on a good afternoon for the hosts.

England manager Sarina Wiegman believes Beth Mead has “shown enough” to earn her recall to the squad for the Lionesses’ final Nations League fixtures.

It is a welcome return to the international fold for the 28-year-old Arsenal forward, who resumed club action last month after suffering an ACL injury last November and has now earned an England call-up for the first time in over a year.

Tottenham midfielder Grace Clinton and Manchester City goalkeeper Khiara Keating retain their places in the Lionesses’ 23-player squad, having received their first senior call-ups in October.

England play their final two games of the year, starting with the Netherlands at Wembley on December 1 before facing Scotland at Hampden Park four days later and Wiegman is delighted to have Mead’s experience for those games.

“It’s really nice, she’s played minutes, she’s in a good place and still building too, but that was a very nice phone call, she was very happy,” Wiegman told a press conference.

“We’ve had conversations all the time, we had conversations before September camp and during and in October too because she was already fully training and getting some minutes but I just wanted to see a little more and that’s what we’ve seen now.

“Her health is really good so she can just go and she’s showed of course in games that she’s in a good place and we want her to keep growing and improving.

“She’s shown enough to me and for my technical staff to bring her in.

“She is a character that brings positive energy off the pitch and on the pitch and it’s good to have her back. Her experience, the way she plays, she’s different than other players on the wing, she brings different things so that’s good we have different opportunities again. Off pitch gives us some extra energy.”

England are currently third in Group A1 of the Nations League following a disappointing 3-2 loss to Belgium last month, their second defeat in four group matches.

Plenty is at stake in the competition as the winners of League A will reach the finals, which act as Europe’s 2024 Olympic qualifiers, meaning that hopes of a qualification spot in Paris are in danger for Team GB.

With two games remaining to try and turn things around, Wiegman insists England’s preparations will remain the same and has called on her side to be “more ruthless” in the final third.

“I think the Belgium game, the difference of us to them was so big,” she said.

“That last result was not a reflection of how we were in camp. Yes we’re in a situation where we absolutely need wins, we know that, we’re aware of that.

“When we go into a camp we want to win games. We haven’t done that lately in all our games and that’s what we want to do.

“Our approach will not all of a sudden change, we just review our last game, we prepare for the Netherlands first and the process we do will not be a lot different because I think we still do good things, we have to do better in moments of the game.

“In the final third we create a lot of chances but have to be more ruthless and we have to be aware of the counter-attack, be better and tighter on the ball.”

Wiegman also took time to congratulate Chelsea manager Emma Hayes on her appointment as new head coach of the United States women’s team, a role she will take up at the end of the season.

“She’s done a tremendous job, incredible results she’s had over a decade,” Wiegman added.

“I think for her it’s good to move on and I congratulated her of course with the new job, it’s very exciting for her. For her it’s really good and overall in the bigger picture it’s good for the women’s game too.”

Beth Mead has been recalled to the England squad for the first time in over a year ahead of the Lionesses’ final Nations League fixtures.

It is a welcome return to the international fold for the 28-year-old Arsenal forward, who resumed club action last month after suffering an ACL injury last November.

England face the Netherlands at Wembley on December 1 before taking on Scotland at Hampden Park four days later.

Tottenham midfielder Grace Clinton and Manchester City goalkeeper Khiara Keating also retain their places, having received their first senior call-ups in October.

England internationals Ben Chilwell and Beth Mead are fronting a new player-led initiative to better deal with mental health issues within football.

The pair are among several top-level footballers to back ‘Create the Space’, a long-term movement working alongside Common Goal aimed at training individuals – either externally or within clubs – on how to help those with mental ill health.

The goal is to eventually have such volunteers available to players throughout the whole football pyramid, helping to provide a safe space for conversations around mental health and well-being.

Chelsea full-back Chilwell has openly spoken about his own battles in the past and wants ‘Create the Space’ to normalise conversations around the subject.

“I have had my own mental health journey and I felt unsure about where to turn to for support,” he said.

“It’s down to our generation to change this and ensure that throughout football, all the way from the elite level to young people in community organisations, we have each other’s backs and we’re equipped with the tools to help ourselves and those around us.

“We need to move from talking about mental health to taking action, and ‘Create the Space’ provides the platform for everyone wishing to take action to play a role in tackling mental health issues, whether they are playing in the Premier League, in the playground, or in the park.”

Mead won the Golden Boot and was named Player of the Tournament as she helped the Lionesses win the Women’s Euros last year but has since suffered setbacks on and off the pitch that have tested the 28-year-old.

“In January I lost my Mum and because of the injury I couldn’t play football, which was always my escape, my happy place,” the Arsenal forward said.

“Moments when people thought I was fine because of my outgoing personality, were very dark. It’s been a tough process to understand. Team-mates, people at the club, family and friends that supported me were so important, without them I could have been in a far darker place.

“I want to help create an environment in which it’s totally normal to address mental health. There’s not a perfect way of dealing with it, but if you feel you’re not alone it helps so much.

“We need to normalise mental health and in doing so that would go a long way.”

Other names to back the initiative include Mead’s Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema as well as Tottenham captain Molly Bartrip and former England Under-21 international and mental health advocate Marvin Sordell.

Bartrip, in particular, recalled a moment in her own life where she needed help.

“Some years ago I was in a position where I wanted to commit suicide,” she said.

“You feel like you’re a burden, but it’s the strongest thing to ask for help. Mental health shouldn’t be a forbidden subject, it should be as open as having an injury.

“I want football to become a safe space and hope that from the top level down to grassroots that’s what we can achieve with ‘Create the Space’.”

Launched in 2017, Common Goal is a collective movement in global football and now 250 players and managers contribute a minimum of one per-cent of their football earnings to take action against challenges such as gender equity, racial justice, LGBT+ inclusion and mental health.

Former Chelsea and Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata was a trailblazer for the scheme, which is now also backed by household names across the men’s and women’s game.

Beth Mead looks likely to make her long-awaited return to Arsenal’s matchday squad when the Gunners host Aston Villa at the Emirates on Sunday, boss Jonas Eidevall confirmed.

The England forward, who won the Golden Boot in the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 triumph, has not played for club or country since rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) late last November.

Mead faces one final training session before her fitness for Arsenal’s third meeting of the new Women’s Super League season is confirmed, but the 28-year-old’s manager was feeling optimistic after seeing her put through her paces on Friday morning.

Eidevall said: “In order to, for squad selection, we have one more training to go. If she goes through that training she should be 100 per cent ready for squad selection.

“She has a lovely energy, she plays the game with both her right and left foot with really good attacking qualities too. We all know that Beth Mead is a quality football player, so of course we are really looking forward to having her back on the pitch again.”

Mead, whose injury ruled her out of this summer’s World Cup, was one of four of Eidevall’s players to sustain an ACL problem last season, drawing further attention to what many feel is a crisis facing women’s football, where the issue is alarmingly common.

Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema joined the ‘ACL club’ a month after her team-mate and partner Mead but is also edging close to a comeback, said Eidevall, while Leah Williamson, who captained England to the European trophy, will not feature until after Christmas at the earliest.

Defender Laura Wienroither ruptured her ACL in May, while fellow defender Teyah Goldie became the fifth victim when she suffered the same issue in August.

Eidevall said: “Viv has returned to team training, which is really nice, so obviously the next thing from team training is to start playing in games, if that’s friendly games or internal games behind closed doors and so on.

“That’s the next step, and from there on obviously you’re not miles away from being able to be selected to be in the squad, so she’s definitely getting close.”

While the unfortunate quintuplet of team-mates have been able to support each other through the long recovery process, Eidevall and his staff do not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach.

He added: “Unfortunately we have a group of players that went through the same thing. I think, though, at the end of the day you need to deal with your things yourself, because even if it looks on paper that you have the same injury, it’s never exactly the same.

“There are always differences. There can be similarities and yes you can help, but at the end of the day everything is going to be unique to you as an individual. I try to be very mindful of treating people with similar injuries like a package.”

Manchester City boss Gareth Taylor wants improved communication between players and officials following Sunday’s controversial draw with Chelsea in which he felt the referee handed out bookings “like confetti”.

City looked the brighter side and had taken a 1-0 lead via Chloe Kelly’s deflected seventh-minute strike, but late in the first half referee Emily Heaslip decided Alex Greenwood had been time-wasting after taking 26 seconds to take a free-kick and dismissed the bewildered captain with a second yellow.

It was an encounter with potential title implications that ultimately saw 10 yellows issued, including a second to Lauren Hemp 15 minutes before Guro Reiten’s stoppage-time equaliser, with the decision against Greenwood in particular lambasted on social media and criticised by big names including Ian Wright and Beth Mead.

Taylor, who himself was booked in the second half, said: “We submit a report which normally is fairly straightforward.

“I think this one will be quite an interesting one, just in terms of some of the feedback I’ve had from the players as well, in terms of the communication back and forth from the officials.

“Everyone makes mistakes. I think owning those mistakes at times is is much easier to handle, because we all do it, and I think it’s just a little bit easier if we get that communication between us, which is really important, so that we can create – not necessarily accountability – but we can create communication between us and go, we’re seeing it as this and you guys are seeing it slightly differently, who is right or wrong here? 

“It’s important we get the feedback. Let’s see what we hear back.”

City, who also unsuccessfully appealed a three-match ban for Leila Ouahabi, sent off in their season opener, next travel to Everton on Wednesday to kick off their FA Cup campaign, a competition Taylor insisted “is not something to be sniffed at”.

City are looking to qualify for Champions League football again after narrowly missing out with a fourth-place WSL finish last year, with success against top sides like Chelsea critical in the short 22-match season.

While Taylor suggested Sunday’s decisions “went against us, it always seems to be against us and not Chelsea”, he conceded the first yellow of the game, shown to Blues forward Lauren James, was “harsh, and the next thing you know, before you know it, they’re handing them out like confetti”.

He also brushed aside theories that his side were less disciplined than Hayes’, adding: “They always seem to talk around that their discipline is much higher, but I don’t think there was any ill discipline from us at all.

“It was a real anomaly of the game and it forced us into a really, really difficult situation which the players coped with so well.

“I’ve been so impressed with the players and the way they manage that.

“To put four points on the board in both of those games, when you lose players, has been amazing.”

Beth Mead pointed to early World Cup exits for Germany and Brazil as a reminder that results trump performances after England scrapped their way to Wednesday’s semi-final meeting with Australia.

The Lionesses were far from their best in the group stage but emerged with three wins, a pattern that has continued into the knockout rounds as they narrowly edged past Nigeria and Colombia despite starting as heavy favourites to set up the meeting with the co-hosts in Sydney.

Much-fancied Germany, who Sarina Wiegman’s side beat in the European Championship final at Wembley a year ago, were surprisingly dumped out of the tournament at the first hurdle after losing to Colombia and failing to beat South Korea.

South American champions Brazil went out at the same stage after they were held to a surprise goalless draw by Jamaica, making only their second World Cup appearance, in their final game.

And Mead called for England’s critics to put the team’s own performances, which have failed to convince at times despite seeing the side progress to a third straight semi-final, in the context of illustrious rivals who failed to overcome the emerging nations of women’s football.

“You’re never going to play a perfect game every game,” she told the PA news agency whilst attending a McDonald’s Fun Football session ahead of the semi-final. McDonald’s has given 50,000 children access to free football throughout the summer.

“In the Euros, we grew into the tournament and I think it’s the same at the moment.

“We didn’t play our best game in the first two matches and still came away with two victories, in comparison to Germany or Brazil who got knocked out in the group stage. You don’t need to be firing on all cylinders if you’re winning games and getting momentum.

“But fans have an expectation of us to be playing 10 out of 10 every time we get on the football pitch. Unfortunately that’s not football. The opposition make it hard for you.

“But the girls are in a good place. We’ve made it to a semi-final and haven’t actually played our best football. It’s exciting to know they can still get to another level against Australia.”

Mead, who won the Golden Boot as the Lionesses were victorious at Euro 2022 but was ruled out of the World Cup with an ACL injury, pointed to defender Alex Greenwood as England’s standout performer at the tournament so far.

The Manchester City player has made the most interceptions of any player involved across all teams competing in Australia and New Zealand as well as the most touches and the highest number of passes.

Against Australia she is set to start in a back three alongside Chelsea pair Jess Carter and captain Millie Bright, and Mead is hopeful that the club connection will help give them the edge over fellow Blue Sam Kerr.

Australia’s all-time top scorer made her first appearance of the tournament as a late substitute during the last-16 win against Denmark after missing the group stage with a calf injury, coming off the bench once more against France, and coach Tony Gustavasson has hinted she may be used as an impact substitute against the Lionesses.

“Whether Sam Kerr is fully fit or not, she only needs one chance to score a goal,” said Mead. “The England players know that, Millie Bright plays with her every week at Chelsea and knows the ability that she has.

“She’s a player that can stay concentrated and in the game for 90 minutes, we’ve learned that the hard way over the years.

“They’ll have her locked in their sights for the full game. We need to keep her under wraps, we can’t give her a sniff on goal.

“But Alex Greenwood has made more interceptions than any other player at the tournament. She’s got a wand of a left foot and is under-rated in this team.”

Of the continued growth and popularity of the women’s game in England she added: “You can see that by the fact that McDonalds Fun Football sessions are oversubscribed by 160 per cent, it’s great to see first-hand how the next generation have been galvanised by the team.”

Beth Mead admits not being included in England’s Women’s World Cup squad was “a tough pill to swallow” but is looking forward to cheering the Lionesses on throughout the tournament.

This year’s competition takes place in Australia and New Zealand, with Sarina Wiegman’s side kicking off their campaign against Haiti in Group D on July 22.

England will be without the injured Mead, who won the Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament awards when they won the Euros last summer.

The Arsenal forward is continuing her recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained last November and knew the turnaround to make the squad would be tight.

“When I did my knee I knew time was probably going a little bit against me,” Mead told the PA news agency.

“But it was my motivator through my rehab and I can honestly look myself in the mirror and go ‘I’ve done everything possible to get close to that’.

“Sarina was incredible, in fact she had a lot of conversations with me, kept me in the loop with everything and she said she would’ve loved to have me there, but it was meant to be a bit too soon.

“It was a tough pill to swallow, it’s a big tournament and you want to be there, I was in good form before my injury and you want to continue that into the big tournaments again.

“It wasn’t meant to be this time, I believe everything happens for a reason, but I’m looking forward to watching the girls and being number one cheerleader back home.

“It’s just a little bit of a different role for me this year.”

England’s preparations for the World Cup continued at the weekend as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Portugal, but Mead believes the game has offered more learning opportunities for the team.

“I think that’s why you play these kinds of teams, Portugal are a good team, they have the quality,” she said.

“In these games when it doesn’t go quite right they tampered the systems, tampered with individuals and where they’re playing.

“You learn more from these games than going out there and winning 6-0 or 7-0 so I think it’s good learning and a good pinpoint for them to build on ready to go to the World Cup.”

Mead is an ambassador for the McDonald’s Fun Football programme, the largest grassroots programme in the UK for five to 11-year-olds, where 250,000 children have had access to free football in the last 12 months.

She will be cheering England on from home as she continues to work her way back to fitness in time for the new Women’s Super League season.

The Lionesses star admits there have been “pros and cons” to recovering alongside her partner and Arsenal team-mate Vivianne Miedema, who also sustained an ACL injury just weeks after Mead.

Mead said: “Some days I want to absolutely rip her head off because she’s a pain in the bum and other days we understand what each other’s going through and we can help push each other through.

“I’m a month ahead of Viv, I’ve kind of been there and wore the t-shirt of what she’s doing now.

“I know when there’s days where things become difficult I can help her with or when I know how happy she is.

“She ran for the first time this week and she’s had a few complications so I know how amazing that day felt for her because a month earlier I’d just done it.”

The England forward is now relishing a long-awaited return to football and getting back to work with the Gunners next season.

“It’ll be very exciting to get on a pitch again but I’m excited to play alongside the girls again, getting involved,” she added.

“You find a new appreciation for football when you’ve been kept out of it for nine months.”

::Beth Mead was speaking at the largest ever McDonald’s Fun Football session to celebrate the landmark of over 250,000 children across the UK benefiting from access to free football this season. Sign up to a free session near you at

England boss Sarina Wiegman says she was not prepared to take the risks with Beth Mead’s fitness after leaving her out of her squad for this summer’s World Cup.

Mead, who claimed the Golden Boot and player of the tournament award when the Lionesses won the Euros last summer, misses out after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury in November.

Asked if there was ever a chance the Arsenal winger could have been in the squad, Wiegman told a press conference: “No, I don’t think so.

“Beth is so positive and she’s going really well, but we said the time schedule she had, we would have taken so many risks to try to get her to the World Cup.

“Very early we said we’re not going to take that risk, I’m not willing to take that risk, to push her too much and then she gets injured again. We have to take care of players and do what’s smart, and not do what’s a little bit naive.”

There is a recall for in-form Bethany England, back involved for the first time since last September.

The forward has scored 12 Women’s Super League goals for Tottenham after joining from Chelsea in January, and Wiegman said: “She was at Chelsea, she didn’t get the minutes.

“Then she made a move and started playing. Tottenham was having a hard time, but how she performed and how much resilience she showed – I think that’s what made us make the decision to get her in the squad.”

Millie Bright and Lucy Bronze, also sidelined of late, do feature in a 23-player list from which skipper Leah Williamson and Fran Kirby had already been ruled out due to injury.

Wiegman confirmed Bright is set to captain the side, and regarding her and Bronze’s recoveries from knee surgery, she said: “Lucy is fit and fully in training, and Millie is in a good place, so we’re positive.

“She’s still building but we have some time. We need to build a little more but it looks good.”

On Williamson’s absence after suffering an ACL injury of her own in April, Wiegman said: “Of course, most of all for her it’s very disappointing and sad, and that’s the same for Fran and for Beth Mead.

“But you have to move on too. This is unfortunately part of top sports, that you can get injured. You hope to make that risk as small as possible but it can happen and someone else steps up and it gives an opportunity.”

Jordan Nobbs is included despite sustaining an injury in Aston Villa’s penultimate game of the season, Katie Zelem has been brought back after not making the last squad in April, and there is no recall for Williamson’s predecessor as captain Steph Houghton.

Jess Park, Maya Le Tissier – who Wiegman said was “really close” to making the 23 – and Emily Ramsey have been named on standby.

Wiegman said there had been “hard decisions” and that while some players were missing through injury, she still feels “we have a very good squad, very good depth in the squad.”

England get their campaign at the tournament in Australia and New Zealand under way by facing Haiti in Brisbane on July 22, and will also take on Denmark and China in Group D.

Wiegman was also asked about the diversity of the squad in terms of there being 22 white players out of 23, and said: “Of course I understand that people look at it like that, and I really hope that will change, but that won’t change overnight.

“I know the FA is doing lots of things, with ‘Discover My Talent’, ‘Let Girls Play’, to get everyone who wants to play football, whatever background you have, or wherever you come from, that you have access to it.

“I think what our players did after the Euros, (asking to) have access in schools, which now had a big result, hopefully that brings more girls with different backgrounds into the game, so in the future we have more players from different backgrounds in the national team too. But for now I think that takes a little more time.”

Bethany England has been included in Sarina Wiegman’s England squad for this summer’s World Cup, while Beth Mead misses out.

Striker England, who has not been involved for her country since last September, is recalled after scoring 12 Women’s Super League goals for Tottenham since joining them from Chelsea in January.

But there is no return for Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner and player of the tournament Mead, having lost her battle against time after sustaining an anterior cruciate ligament injury in November.

England forward Beth Mead says she will “try my hardest” to make the summer’s World Cup while admitting “it may be a little bit too soon”.

Mead, who claimed the Golden Boot and player of the tournament award when the Lionesses won the Euros on home soil last year, has been sidelined since suffering a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament while playing for Arsenal in November.

In March, England boss Sarina Wiegman said she was planning for the World Cup without Mead, adding: “If a miracle happens and she goes so fast (in her recovery), then we will reconsider it – but at this moment I don’t expect that.”

Speaking on Wednesday as she received an MBE at Windsor Castle for services to football, Mead told the PA news agency: “I’m back on the pitch, back kicking a ball. So it’s starting to be a little bit more normal again, but it’s been a long, tough period.

“I will try my hardest to get as close to that as possible. But (the World Cup) may be a little bit too soon for me this time around.”

Mead also told Sky Sports she was “ahead of schedule” in her recovery, before adding that her World Cup participation is “out of my control”.

The showpiece in Australia and New Zealand gets under way on July 20, with Wiegman set to name her squad for the tournament later this month.

Mead is one of four Arsenal players to have sustained ACL injuries this season, with England captain Leah Williamson another, along with Vivianne Miedema and Laura Wienroither.

On the broader picture in terms of ACL injuries, Mead told PA: “I think there’s more that can be done. Obviously, we’ll be delving into that a lot more as individuals and as a club and in the women’s game in general.

“I think it’s becoming like six more times likely than male players and we’ve got that figure and that’s something that can help.

“It’s a long injury and you don’t want to be seeing any player going out with it, but some of the best players that you want to be seeing in World Cups and things like that (have sustained the injury).

“We’ll try and help push that out there more and get more research done on that.”

Also receiving an MBE on Wednesday was Mead’s England team-mate Lucy Bronze, who has been out of action herself after undergoing knee surgery last month.

The Barcelona defender, whose club play Wolfsburg in the Champions League final on June 3, said: “I think (the World Cup) is really far in the future and I should be back training within a few weeks now. The surgery was two weeks ago but very minor compared to some of the other girls.

“I’m hoping to get back fit for the Champions League final.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.