WSL: Man City title hopes take major blow in Arsenal loss

Mary Fowler looks dejected following the team's defeat during the Barclays Women´s Super League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Joie Stadium
Mary Fowler looks dejected following the team's defeat during the Barclays Women´s Super League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Joie Stadium (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Manchester City’s Women’s Super League title charge took a blow on Sunday following a defeat to Arsenal. Chelsea, who had previously looked down and out, are now back to within just three points of City, with a crucial game in-hand to play too.

The occasion also marked Steph Houghton’s final game at the Joie Stadium. The captain will retire from football at the end of the season.

Starting XIs

Manchester City

Keating; Aleixandri, Greenwood, Coombs, Fowler, Kelly, Hemp, Ouahabi, Park, Casparij, Hasegawa

Arsenal

Zinsberger; Fox, Williamson, Mead, Maanum, McCabe, Pelova, Russo, Lacasse, Codina, Cooney-Cross

How it went

An end-to-end first spell saw both sides have chances to open the scoring. However, it was Man City who found the opener just 19 minutes in. Lauren Hemp nestled a shot into the bottom corner after a failed clearance to give her side the early lead.

City then controlled the following ten minutes of the tie. However, Arsenal almost found an equaliser shortly before the break, with Khiara Keating forced to make a diving save.

The hosts started the second half brightly, with several good chances in the first ten minutes after the restart. Despite having numerous opportunities, the Sky Blues were unable to add to their goal tally. Arsenal dominated for much of the half, with City having to make several late clearances.

A late equaliser from Stina Blackstenius in the 89th minute saw the No.25 get the final touch in a congested penalty area. Just three minutes later, the Gunners were ahead. A second from Blackstenius snatched all three points for the visitors, damaging Man City’s title hopes with a blow that will certainly sting after Chelsea’s statement win.

Captain, leader, legend

Embed from Getty Images

Manchester City honoured club legend Houghton at full-time, with the defender due to retire at the end of the season. The No.6 was presented with gifts from both Man City and former club Arsenal, alongside receiving a guard of honour from the two teams. Houghton’s service to the club saw her spend over ten years in Manchester, leading the club to eight trophies along the way.

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