Former Arsenal Women striker Ellen White proved to be the difference as she struck a hat-trick to help Birmingham City Ladies to an important 3-0 win over the Gunners.
The Blues could have added another goal, but Aoife Mannion couldn’t steer her penalty home.
With Chelsea Ladies and Manchester City in Champions League action, this was a massive opportunity for Arsenal to make up ground at the top of the table.
The result sees Birmingham move within two points of the now 4th placed Gunners in 5th.
The hosts came into this game with a point to prove after a goalless draw with rock-bottom Yeovil Town Ladies and that was clear from the off.
Sari van Veenendaal was brought into action as the ball came to Charlie Wellings on the edge of the box whose shot looked destined for the bottom corner if it wasn’t for the Dutch goalkeeper.
The Arsenal goalkeeper wouldn’t be as fortunate momentarily after as the hosts turned their quick start into a goal.
Marisa Ewers played an inch-perfect ball in behind for White to chase and after controlling the ball just outside the box she clipped the ball over van Veenendaal who misjudged the flight of the ball.
Arsenal were given a glimpse to get back into the game shortly after as Ann-Katrin Burger’s pass was intercepted by Beth Mead. However, the now-England striker couldn’t round Burger to level the scores.
The visitors then had a flurry of chances around the midway point of the first-half with Kim Little, Katie McCabe and Jordan Nobbs all coming close but not quite close enough. Nobbs came closest with a similar in-swinging corner to last week but Burger matched the midfielder.
However, unlike Arsenal, Birmingham took their chances on the day and approaching the break they did just that.
After beating Louise Quinn out wide, Follis hit a low cross to the six-yard box where White swept the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. The goalkeeper did get a touch on the effort but couldn’t quite keep it out.
The second-half started in a less frantic manner as the first and this was telling as the first real chance came just after the hour mark.
Burger set her attack free quickly which resulted in White rounding the onrushing van Veenendaal but the England striker wasn’t able to take her goal tally to three just yet.
Arsenal’s day looked to get worse later in the half as substitute Danielle Carter tripped Ewers in the box. It did, however, seem that the Birmingham player may have been looking for the decision as she stepped across the striker. However, this wouldn’t matter as Mannion’s resulting penalty was met by a diving van Veenendaal.
Despite the penalty save, the momentum of the game wouldn’t change and in the last knockings, Birmingham scored their third.
Rachel Williams hit a well-weighted ball over the top and with her first touch, White lobbed the ball into the far top corner to complete her hat trick.
The loss signifies the end of Joe Montemurro’s side’s 14 game unbeaten run and with Reading Women running out 2-0 victors over Sunderland, means Arsenal drop down to 4th. However, they do still have a game in hand over the Royals and are just two points behind.
As for Birmingham, they now move closer to Arsenal sitting just a couple points behind. However, unlike Arsenal and Reading, they have played the same amount of games.
Arsenal’s attention now moves to this weekend’s F.A. Women’s Cup final at Wembley where they’ll meet Chelsea Ladies in what will be a hard-fought fight for silverware.
Birmingham City’s next game also sees them play Chelsea, however, that’ll be the week after.