LAUREN HEMP reckons Manchester City’s aggressiveness gave them an edge as they dented Arsenal’s title chase and turbocharged their own.
The forward was relentless alongside Khadija Shaw and Chloe Kelly, grabbing her 50th City goal during a 2-1 win.
The result saw Jonas Eidevall’s aces drop points for the second weekend in a row.
And it saw the Citizens avenge their midweek league cup loss moving up to third before the international break.
They also went level on points with Manchester United, who are second, and just two points behind leaders Chelsea.
Their neighbours are set to face Spurs at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium at midday on Sunday.
After the game Hemp said: “We were really aggressive which is important.
“We carried that out throughout the game, not just in the first time half like we did on Wednesday (in the league cup).
“We had the upper hand and we wanted it more than them.
“We fought more than them and sometimes it comes down to that especially in the last few minutes.
“We played 120 odd minutes on Wednesday, so a lot of us are still recovering from that.
“But I think it’s that fight that takes us to the end of the game and we had that more than them.
“There’s still a long way to go, we know that and there’s so many more games.
“We need to make sure we win every single one to keep us in contention for the league (title) but that result put us in a really good position
“We want to show teams that we’re not here for a laugh, we’re here because we want to win.”
The hosts looked a completely different side to the one shut out by Arsenal during their 1-0 Continental Tyres trophy last four defeat on the road in midweek.
Steph Houghton and Laura Coombs started in place of Alanna Kennedy and Deyna Castellanos with Yui Hasegawa playing in a slightly deeper role.
It proved to be a tactical trump card with the trio putting in a solid shift and making some key interceptions.
Arsenal got on the attack early with Frida Maanum firing narrowly wide at the near post in the third minute.
But they were caught on the counter with Kelly’s cross teeing up Hemp’s tap-in.
After Roebuck caught Kim Little’s 11thminute shot, it was City who had the best attacking moments in the first spell.
And they exploited space on the flanks with the Gunners opting to play a back three.
The hosts threatened with Shaw’s header hitting the crossbar moments after Hemp’s opener.
They eventually doubled their lead with Shaw harrying Arsenal’s defence, winning possession and squaring for Kelly to score in the 43rd minute.
Eidevall shuffled his deck in the second spell with Lotte Wubben-Moy and Caitlin Foord replaced by Lia Walti and Katie McCabe.
The visitors pulled a goal back with Rafaelle heading Maanum’s free-kick beyond City keeper Ellie Roebuck.
The hosts weathered some pressure and came close to netting a third with Hasegawa’s shot hitting the crossbar in the 59th minute.
And they held out to seal a win to turn up the heat on their title rivals.
City chief Gareth Taylor said: “We were on it from minute one.
“It’s a testament to the girls to take it to another level from the game the other day.
“We should’ve been four or five up at half time. The mistakes we forced, it was impressive.
“When a team plays a back three, there are subtle changes to Bunny’s (Khadija) role, but the top end players created a lot of havoc without the ball.”
On this side moving into the WSL’s top three, Taylor added: “We’ve put ourselves in a good position but we’re not getting carried away.
“We have to play Man Utd again, Arsenal and Chelsea.”
The Gunners next’s league encounter will be a March 5th duel with Liverpool after a fifth round FA Cup duel with the Blues.
Of their loss to City, Arsenal boss Eidevall said: “It is one hundred per cent my responsibility that we do not win, so I take that and that’s why I need to look at the game.
“We have enough players in the squad.
“We have to all believe in the way that we want to play and then we can create great things together.”