Albion are still looking for their first points against Arsenal in the WSL after suffering a 5-0 defeat in their latest meeting at the People’s Pension Stadium on Sunday.
Hope Powell’s team began well but went behind to a goal from Vivianne Miedema in the 10th minute and before the break Danielle van de Donk had doubled Arsenal’s lead.
Jen Beattie, Lottie Wubben-Moy and Miedema added further goals after the break and Albion must regroup before they face a tough test next Sunday at Everton, another of the early pacesetters.
Powell made five changes to the side that had drawn 2-2 with West Ham in the Conti Cup in midweek with Megan Walsh, Rebekah Stott, Inessa Kaagman, Kayleigh Green and Rianna Jarrett all in the starting XI against an Arsenal side with 18 goals from three games already this season.
It was always going to be a tough prospect for Albion but they made a bright start and Denise O’Sullivan went close with a shot from the right-hand corner of the box in the fourth minute that brushed past the far post.
But with their first attack, Arsenal took a 10th-minute lead. Lia Walti found Miedema 20-yards out and she cut inside Fliss Gibbons and beat Megan Walsh with a swerving effort inside the right-hand post.
Albion nearly went further behind four minutes later when Beth Mead hit the post from close range before Walsh turned a cross-shot by Miedema over the bar.
Albion were under the pump, but they got a foothold in the game and O’Sullivan forced Manuela Zinsberger to make a strong save midway through the first half when she pushed out her well-struck shot.
The visitors continued to carry the greater threat though and Miedema tried her luck from 40 yards – the ball drifting just over – before being bravely denied by Walsh after getting clean through.
But they did double their lead in the 36th minute. Caitlin Foord got the better of Gibbons and pulled the ball back to van de Donk who powered a low shot into the corner which Walsh got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Megan Connolly replaced Rianna Jarrett with Inessa Kaagman playing in a more advanced role but Arsenal stretched their lead in the 48th minute, when defender Beattie got a free header at the far post from Katie McCabe’s corner, and although Kaagman cleared the ball the officials decided it had crossed the line.
Kaagman tested Zinsberger from 35-yards as Albion sought a response and substitute Geum-Min Lee forced a smart save from the Arsenal goalkeeper late on.
There was no lack of effort from Powell’s team and at times they passed the ball well but found it hard to break down the visitors, who stretched their lead eight minutes from the end through when Lottie Wubben-Moy headed home from close range.
Arsenal got a fifth in stoppage time when Miedema scored her second with a volley from close range from McCabe’s cross.
Albion: Walsh, Le Tissier (Barton 85), Kerkdijk, Stott, Gibbons, Green (Guem-Min 75), O’Sullivan (Simpkins 85), Bowman (Williams 65), Whelan, Kaagman, Jarrett (Connolly 45).
Unused subs: Fiskerstrand, Heroum.