Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall says his side’s comeback win against Brighton showed they were rediscovering their “identity and mentality”.
Victory was just their second in eight games and sent them four points clear at the top of the Women’s Super League.
Emma Koivisto ended Albion’s eight-game goal drought to open the scoring, only for Vivianne Miedema to level before Beth Mead won it with a free-kick.
“This period has made us better,” Eidevall said.
“I don’t think we started January well, but I think we have been doing good work getting our structure back, getting our identity and mentality back.
“For me as a coach, as long as I can see the solutions, as long as I can see the vision and how we can work towards that, that’s not stressful for me. That’s very enjoyable working with that.”
The Gunners dominated but fell behind to a Koivisto header that ended a 465-minute WSL goal drought for Albion.
But the home side came out firing after the break and struck back through Miedema’s close-range finish from a superb Mead free-kick.
Mead then ensured all three points, curling in a brilliant free-kick after being fouled.
The 26-year-old’s assist for the first goal means she has now drawn level with Karen Carney for the most in WSL history with 35.
Champions Chelsea in second have a game in hand, but the Gunners now hold a crucial lead after a mini dip in form that had seen them lose to Birmingham and draw with Manchester City.
Brighton’s defeat means they have taken just one point from a possible 18 since a run of three straight wins in October and November, leaving them eighth in the table.
Arsenal rediscover their bite
That sole point taken by Albion of late could yet prove a key one in this WSL title race, coming from a goalless draw with Arsenal’s title rivals Chelsea on Sunday.
At the break at Meadow Park on Thursday, it looked as though they were going to go one better against the Gunners to throw the initiative back to Emma Hayes’ side.
However, after having dominated possession but fashioning only a Miedema header from a corner that Maya le Tissier cleared off the line in the first half, Arsenal were a different animal after the break.
Mead was central to a renewed attacking vigour, picking up the ball and driving at the Brighton defence.
Eidevall said she was back playing with aggression again. “I missed that Beth Mead a little bit in the latest games,” he added.
“When she is that aggressive, I think she is world class and that helped us a lot in the second half.”
She laid the equaliser on a plate for Miedema with a pinpoint free-kick to the back post that the Dutch striker had only to poke in for her eighth WSL goal of the season and 15th in total.
Mead then took on responsibility herself, drawing a foul on the edge of the box from Victoria Williams with a purposeful run before curling home the resulting set-piece with aplomb.
Once behind, Brighton had little more to offer, with their second-half gameplan reliant on containing an Arsenal side that simply had too much class for them.
- 6WilliamsonSubstituted forWubben-Moyat 65′minutes
- 2Carvalho Souza
- 13WältiSubstituted forMaanumat 82′minutes
- 77HeathSubstituted forParrisat 77′minutes
- 20Boye Sørensen
- 6Le TissierBooked at 54mins
- 20WilliamsBooked at 60mins
- 21Zigiotti OlmeSubstituted forSimpkinsat 70′minutes
- 8ConnollySubstituted forWhelanat 22′minutes
- 16BrazilBooked at 24mins
- 18CarterSubstituted forGreenat 70′minutes
- Kirsty Dowle
Match ends, Arsenal Women 2, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 1.
Second Half ends, Arsenal Women 2, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 1.
Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Kayleigh Green tries a through ball, but Victoria Williams is caught offside.
Nikita Parris (Arsenal Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Emma Kullberg (Brighton and Hove Albion Women).
Foul by Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal Women).
Emma Koivisto (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Nikita Parris (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the right wing is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Emily Simpkins (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Frida Maanum (Arsenal Women) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Noëlle Maritz.
Foul by Laura Wienroither (Arsenal Women).
Aileen Whelan (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Offside, Arsenal Women. Lotte Wubben-Moy tries a through ball, but Nikita Parris is caught offside.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Frida Maanum replaces Lia Wälti because of an injury.
Attempt saved. Emily Simpkins (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Substitution, Arsenal Women. Nikita Parris replaces Tobin Heath.
Attempt blocked. Beth Mead (Arsenal Women) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Vivianne Miedema with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal Women) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Tobin Heath.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Emily Simpkins replaces Julia Zigiotti Olme.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Kayleigh Green replaces Danielle Carter.