Monday, April 22, 2024

Report: Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United Women (inc goals)

14.D’Angelo; 15.McCabe, 3.Wubben-Moy, 27.Codina, 7.Catley (29.Foord ‘82); 21.Pelova, 13.Walti; 9.Mead (12.Maanum ‘75), 10.Little(c) (11.Miedema ‘75), 24.Lacasse; 25.Blackstenius (23.Russo ‘66).

Arsenal selected a strong counter-attacking line-up against Manchester United with Cloe Lacasse preferred to Caitlin Foord on the left, Stina Blackstenius upfront ahead of Alessia Russo and Sabrina D’Angelo ahead of Manu Zinsberger in goal. Leah Williamson was kept out of the squad with a minor hamstring injury so Laia Codina made her first WSL start in defence since the reverse fixture.

Sabrina D’Angelo and Laia Codina hadn’t started a WSL game since October and it showed in the early stages, with confusion between the two and a couple of underhit back passes interesting Parris and Geyse. But Arsenal began to assert themselves and took the lead on 10 minutes when McCabe’s inswinging corner ricocheted off Geyse and into her own net. Arsenal came very close to signing Geyse in the summer of 2022 before she opted to join Barcelona. 1-0.

On 16 minutes, Arsenal threatened again as Pelova found Mead on the right, Mead cut in on her left foot but her shot was deflected just wide. On 26 minutes Cloe Lacasse slalomed past Zelem and Blundell, who took her down and earned a yellow card for her trouble. Beth Mead put the resulting free kick over the bar from 25 yards.

But United came very close to an equaliser on 28 minutes, Arsenal were guilty of over playing in their own half, United won possession back and Ella Toone’s shot deflected centimetres wide via the foot of Laia Codina. But just as United were beginning to wrest control of the game Arsenal moved into a two goal lead. Pelova’s pull-back just evaded Blackstenius but Zelem’s clearance simply fell to Lacasse in the six yard area and she gratefully headed home from close range. 2-0.

The Gunners had a plan to roast the United full-backs and it worked again as Arsenal moved into a 3-0 lead just before half-time. This time Lacasse burned her way past Blundell to the by-line, her cut back was flicked on by Kim Little, Mead took a heavy touch but that tempted Evans into a challenge and she took Mead out in the box and Kim Little converted from the spot to give Arsenal a three goal half time lead. 3-0.

United replaced left-back Gemma Evans with Leah Galton at half time, with Arsenal needing to replace Victoria Pelova with Kyra Cooney-Cross. United started the second half with greater intent and Parris went close with a header from a Naasland cross though she was eventually flagged offside in any case.

Arsenal’s first sniff of a chance in the second half came on 57 minutes when McCabe whipped a cross in from the right which Blackstenius just couldn’t quite get her foot onto. Arsenal went very close again on 60 minutes when Blundell’s back pass fell straight for Blackstenius in the box but Earps thwarted her one on one. Le Tissier’s clearance only fell to McCabe who pulled the ball back to Little. The captain found Mead in the area whose shot lashed off the inside of the post.

Mead hit the post again a few minutes later as Blackstenius ran into the channel from Walti’s pass and cut the ball back to Little, again she shifted the ball wide to Mead, Mead chopped inside and her shot deflected off Le Tissier and onto the post. Arsenal made another great chance on the counter a couple of minutes later as Mead found Lacasse on the left and she went one on one with Earps, albeit from a tight angle, but she just allowed the ball to run away from her.

United threatened when Walti was dispossessed by Katie Zelem in midfield, Toone found Parris on the right but D’Angelo saved from a tight angle. The Gunners created another good chance on 72 minutes as Cooney-Cross dribbled down the right and found McCabe, McCabe played a one two with Little but her shot was saved by Mary Earps.

United again came close when Malard played a smart reverse ball to Rachel Williams, D’Angelo saved her effort before a heroic block from Steph Catley prevented her from scoring the rebound. The attendance was announced as 60,160, a new WSL record, meaning that the top five WSL attendances are all Arsenal games at Emirates Stadium.

United grabbed a late consolation when they took a short corner and Ella Toone’s cross was missed by D’Angelo and Lucia Garcia tapped the ball into the empty net. But it finished 3-1 to Arsenal who cut the gap at the top to three points and, in the process, extended the gap to United in fourth to seven points.

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They needed to keep that clean sheet! But absolutely great result.


Well done

Bill Hall

Our record against the top 3/4 teams in the WSL so far this season is a big improvement. Played 4, won 3, drew, 1


Great result and performance, though all those missed chances might come back to haunt us. We need to win all our games now, do that and the title probably comes down to goal difference!


Great result, no room for complaints at this stage. They did what they had to do and did it very well.

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