Arsenal Women clinched the title at Brighton’s Amex Stadium on Sunday

Arsenal will get their hands on the Women’s Super League trophy for the first time since 2012 on Saturday, as the domestic season draws to a close.

The Gunners – who clinched their 15th top-flight title with victory at Brighton last month – host Women’s FA Cup winners Manchester City (12:30 BST), and will receive a guard of honour.

But how did English women’s football’s most successful club end a seven-year wait for league success?

BBC Sport looks deeper at Arsenal’s triumph, from overcoming multiple serious injuries, through to their “perfect match” in manager Joe Montemurro.

Making a flying start

Arsenal seal WSL title with 4-0 win at Brighton

Montemurro’s side made the perfect start to their campaign, opening with a 5-0 win over Liverpool and then a 7-0 victory at Yeovil.

Their good form continued as they won all of their first nine games, building a six-point advantage over second-placed Manchester City before their meeting in December.

In those initial nine matches, the Gunners netted a remarkable 42 times, averaging nearly five goals per game.

The highlight was arguably October’s 5-0 win at 2018 champions Chelsea.

But their rivals were playing catch-up right from the start of the campaign, after European hopefuls Chelsea and City drew 0-0 on the opening weekend of the season.

Too many draws cost Man City

Women’s FA Cup final highlights: Man City 3-0 West Ham

That opening-weekend draw for City was to be the first of five, which would ultimately hand Arsenal an edge in the title race.

Nick Cushing’s side beat Arsenal 2-0 in their December league meeting and are one game away from completing an entire domestic season unbeaten, having also lifted the FA Cup and WSL League Cup.

But while ‘the invincible’ team have not yet been defeated at home in 2018-19, they were unable to grind out as many wins as Arsenal, being held at home by Reading and drawing home and away against both Chelsea and mid-table Bristol City.

In contrast, Arsenal are yet to draw this term, winning 17 of their 19 games so far, while third-placed Chelsea’s hopes were damaged by six draws and two defeats, leaving them 12 points adrift.

Overcoming injuries to star players

Disappointment, heartbreak and Lego – Jordan Nobbs on missing the World Cup

While Arsenal may have been fortunate in their main rivals slipping up, they have surely had more than their fair share of bad luck when it comes to injuries.

England playmaker Jordan Nobbs was enjoying an impressive campaign for the Hertfordshire-based outfit until an anterior cruciate ligament injury ended her season – and her World Cup hopes – in November.

Switzerland international Lia Walti suffered a similar injury in January – also ruling her out for the rest of the season – and Scotland star Kim Little missed a large part of the campaign after breaking her leg.

England’s Danielle Carter, meanwhile, only returned to action in March after suffering an ACL injury at the end of last season.

Other first-team players to have had spells on the sidelines have included the Netherlands’ Danielle van de Donk, Scotland’s Lisa Evans and France goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.

Magical Miedema

Vivianne Miedema: The best female striker in the world?

Of the Gunners’ 69 goals in 19 league games so far, almost a third have been scored by Vivianne Miedema, who has led the line for the team all season.

The Netherlands striker is the top scorer in the WSL this term, netting 22 goals and providing 10 assists in her 19 appearances.

Miedema, 22, was recognised by her peers when she was voted as the Professional Footballers’ Association Women’s Player of the Year for 2018-19.

Of her 76 shots at goal in the WSL this season, 72% were on target, and she averages a goal every 77 minutes of league football that she has played.

Montemurro ‘the perfect match’

Joe Montemurro also oversaw Arsenal’s Continental Tyres League Cup win in 2018

Much of Arsenal’s success has been credited to Australian manager Montemurro, who took charge in November 2017 and has since guided them to two League Cup finals and now the title.

The former Melbourne City assistant coach is a lifelong Arsenal fan and has described leading the club as “surreal”, but why have the players warmed to him so much?

“He’s a cool head amongst a fiery bunch. He keeps everything running smoothly,” Arsenal and England defender Leah Williamson told BBC Sport.

“He’s the perfect match for Arsenal and the perfect match for the group of players we have.

“The philosophy he has on the pitch is so strong, and the way he wants to play is so clear, that you always have something to fall back on.

“That’s important if sometimes games aren’t going well, or are going very well. You just stick to the plan, regardless. He also knows when you need to fight messy to win a game.

“He’s an unbelievable coach. The girls have so much respect for him and we all believe in the way he wants to play.”

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