WSL: Late drama sees Arsenal triumph over Manchester City

Manchester City's Chloe Kelly scores a goal.
Manchester City's Chloe Kelly scores the team's first goal against Arsenal at Meadow Park on November 05, 2023. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

In a heavyweight clash, Arsenal hosted Manchester City at Meadow Park. In this clash of the Women’s Super League supremes, it was the Gunners who came away with all three points after a close match.

Man City have dropped just two points from their opening four games, holding Chelsea to a draw in a dramatic home tie. Arsenal suffered a shock opening day defeat to Liverpool before going on their now four-game unbeaten run.

Starting XIs

Arsenal

Zinsberger; Wubben-Moy, Catley, Little, Walti, McCabe, Foord, Pelova, Russo, Lacasse, Ilestedt

Manchester City

Keating; Aleixandri, Fowler, Kelly, Hemp, Morgan, Ouahabi, Roord, Shaw, Hasegawa, Kennedy

How it went

The visitors got the tie off to a strong start as Gareth Taylor’s side dominated the early possession. Careless fouls from the Gunners saw both Lia Wälti and Cloé Lacasse given yellow cards inside ten minutes. Two good chances for City saw Manuela Zinsberger forced to pull off an initial save. Just seconds later, Chloe Kelly’s effort went just wide of the post.

Despite their opponents getting off to a stronger start, it was Arsenal who got the goalscoring action underway. A curling shot from Steph Catley beat Khiara Keating at her far post to break the deadlock in the 12th minute.

The City goalkeeper’s relative inexperience was on display just minutes later as the 19-year-old conceded a penalty for a late challenge in the area. Arsenal captain and penalty specialist Kim Little stepped up to take the spot-kick. A smart save from Keating saw the youngster block the effort, preventing further damage.

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Second half action

The remainder of the opening half saw both teams enjoying periods of dominance with Man City boasting slightly more possession. Despite good chances for the two sides, neither were able to add to the scoreline, with Arsenal leading by a single goal at half-time.

Two early second half chances for Bunny Shaw saw the Jamaican international unable to find the target as City searched for a route back into the tie. At times, the Sky Blues’ makeshift defence was on clear display as Taylor’s side struggled to deal with several Arsenal attacks.

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Despite Manchester City getting the second half off to a better start, the visitors lacked the focus and accuracy needed to break down an organised Arsenal defence. However, the 72nd minute saw City finally break down their opponent as Kelly brought the scoreline back level. Planting the ball firmly in the bottom corner, the forward capitalised on a scramble inside the area to restore the deadlock.

A major error from Keating in the 87th minute saw Arsenal snatch all three points at the death. The City keeper was outside her area as the Gunners launched a late attack. Misjudging the ball’s flight, the youngster failed to make contact with the ball, putting Stina Blackstenius through on the open goal.

The win sees Arsenal move up to fourth in the table. As their unbeaten run comes to an end, Man City remains second in the league with several teams below them yet to play.

Who is up next?

Arsenal will host Bristol City in the FA Cup as they begin their campaign in the competition. The Gunners will then face back-to-back away days to Leicester City and Brighton.

Man City take on Liverpool in the cup at Prenton Park ahead of a home tie to Leicester in the league. The Sky Blues will also have one eye on the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. The tie is due to be played on November 19th.

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