Arsenal defeat struggling Manchester City to top the league

Vivianne Miedema celebrates scoring.
Arsenal's Vivianne Miedema celebrates scoring their side's first goal against Manchester City with team-mates at Meadow Park, Borehamwood on 26 September 2021. (Photo by Dominic Lipinksi)

Arsenal took advantage of Manchester City’s weakened form, punishing the visitors with a 5-0 win at Meadow Park. The win sees the Gunners slide into the league’s top spot.

After getting off to a flying start this season, Arsenal went into the international break with six wins out of six. Their opponents Manchester City, however, went into the break on the back of two losses. The first of which saw them eliminated from the Champions League before the group stages had even commenced.

With an ever growing injury list the visitors would no doubt be looking to salvage their season. All the while, the Gunners would be aiming to continue their perfect start under their new head coach Jonas Eidevall.

Starting XIs

Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Williamson, Beattie, Catley, Walti, Maanum, Little (c), Mead, Miedema, McCabe

Manchester City: Taieb, Stanway, Kennedy, Greenwood, Stokes, Coombs, Losada, Weir, Beckie, Hemp, White (c)

How it went

Despite being forced to field a side that would be far from Gareth Taylor’s first choice, the visitors managed to get off to a bright start.

The initial few minutes saw City trying to find the opener by building from the back. Their determination to play out from the defence however quickly became their undoing.

A back pass from Alanna Kennedy failed to reach her goalkeeper, leading to Vivianne Miedema getting the scoring underway in the 10th minute following a scramble in the area.

From there, Arsenal began to run rings around their opponents. A second goal followed just 13 minutes later as Kim Little fired home a rocket from just inside the area, doubling her side’s lead.

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City’s troubles were far from over as Katie McCabe made it three in the 60th minute.

A further defensive error saw Arsenal awarded a penalty in the 78th minute. Captain Little rifled the spot-kick home, leaving the City keeper little chance of preventing the No.10 from getting her brace.

Leah Williamson capped off the scoring in the final seconds of the game. Arsenal’s attack once again proved too much for a weakened City defence to handle.

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The defeat marks Gareth Taylor’s third consecutive loss, a first in his managerial career.

At times, the gulf between the two teams was starkly obvious.

While the hosts looked capable of scoring from almost every forward passage, their opposition seemed disjointed in attack. Ellen White and Lauren Hemp were often forced to run at the Gunners defence with no back up from the players behind them. Despite City dominating the possession, their shots on target were less than half of those of Arsenal.

Stand out player

Arsenal captain Kim Little was superb throughout the game. With two goals including a world class penalty, the midfielder made her presence felt as her team continued their unbeaten run. As Arsenal maintained their organisation and composure throughout the resounding win, her impact as captain was also plain to see. The result sees her side sitting top of the league and currently unbeaten in all competitions.

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