Arsenal 3-1 Man Utd: Gunners brush aside United to maintain WSL title chase

Manchester United had not had a shot on target by the time Arsenal were 3-0 up at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal produced a statement win to ensure their Women’s Super League title challenge is not over – dealing a serious blow to Manchester United’s hopes of a Champions League place.

Playing in front of a sell-out crowd at Emirates Stadium for the first time in the WSL, Arsenal delivered a ruthless display which puts them three points behind the league’s top two.

United were taken apart defensively, conceding an own goal within 10 minutes when Katie McCabe’s corner deflected off Geyse from close range.

It got worse for Marc Skinner’s side, who now sit seven points behind Arsenal, when Katie Zelem’s scooped clearance fell to the unmarked Cloe Lacasse and she headed it into an open net.

Arsenal rounded off a breathtaking first half with a penalty from Kim Little after United defender Gemma Evans brought down Beth Mead, and the visitors only added a late consolation goal through Lucia Garcia in stoppage time.

The hosts could have extended their lead when Mead struck the post twice in the second half for Arsenal – though one of her efforts took a heavy deflection off defender Maya Le Tissier.

Defeat increases pressure on United boss Skinner, who has faced a backlash from the team’s own supporters in recent months. That is unlikely to diminish with his side on course to finish outside the three Champions League qualification spots for next season.

United punished as Arsenal grasp opportunity

Kim Little is lifted into the air in celebration
Kim Little was lifted into the air in celebration by Katie McCabe after scoring Arsenal’s third goal before half-time

Arsenal were given added motivation before kick-off after witnessing Manchester City beat Chelsea in a battle of the top two at Kingsmeadow on Friday night, meaning the Gunners could close in on the leaders.

February had been a disappointing month for Arsenal before this outing, with defeat by West Ham in the WSL harming their challenge, followed by defeat by Manchester City in the Women’s FA Cup.

Leah Williamson was missing from the Arsenal squad due to a minor hamstring injury, a blow compounded by fellow defender Amanda Ilestedt’s absence through illness, and that led to anxiety in the stands.

But this was a huge response by Arsenal, confirming their superiority over United and imposing their aggression on the big stage.

Buoyed by a full house, Arsenal rode a few minutes of pressure by United at the start, then quickly settled after Geyse’s unfortunate own goal.

From then on, they exploited space behind United’s backline through the movement of Stina Blackstenius and Lacasse, selected ahead of England striker Alessia Russo.

Jonas Eidevall’s side were enjoying themselves and celebrated playfully – McCabe standing with her arms outstretched as team-mates ran towards her, Lacasse sticking her tongue out and Little being hoisted up in the air.

Mead struck the woodwork twice and fired wide, while Blackstenius and Lacasse were denied by Mary Earps as Arsenal continued to pepper her goal.

United had chances early in the first half when Nikita Parris poked a dropped ball by goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo wide and Ella Toone’s shot almost deflected in off Steph Catley, but it took them 71 minutes to muster a first shot on target.

Garcia’s late goal came from a cross on the left, shortly after a long stoppage for a head injury suffered by Arsenal midfielder Lia Walti.

On the whole, it was a bitterly disappointing afternoon for the visitors, who head back north knowing they have a mountain to climb to finish inside the WSL’s top three.


Arsenal Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 14D’Angelo
  • 15McCabeBooked at 38mins
  • 27Codina
  • 3Wubben-MoyBooked at 50mins
  • 7CatleySubstituted forFoordat 84′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 13Wälti
  • 21PelovaSubstituted forCooney-Crossat 45′minutes
  • 9MeadSubstituted forMaanumat 75′minutes
  • 10LittleSubstituted forMiedemaat 75′minutes
  • 24Lacasse
  • 25BlacksteniusSubstituted forRussoat 66′minutes


  • 1Zinsberger
  • 11Miedema
  • 12Maanum
  • 19Foord
  • 23Russo
  • 32Cooney-Cross
  • 53Lia
  • 62Reid
  • 86Bouhaddi

Man Utd Women

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 27Earps
  • 6BlundellBooked at 26mins
  • 4Le Tissier
  • 21Turner
  • 15EvansBooked at 34minsSubstituted forGaltonat 45′minutes
  • 16NaalsundSubstituted forLaddat 70′minutes
  • 10Zelem
  • 23da Silva FerreiraSubstituted forWilliamsat 62′minutes
  • 7Toone
  • 17García
  • 22ParrisSubstituted forMalardat 78′minutes


  • 5Mannion
  • 8Guerrero
  • 9Malard
  • 11Galton
  • 12Ladd
  • 28Williams
  • 36Aherne
  • 91Tullis-Joyce

Kirsty Dowle


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