Conti-Cup: Arsenal v Aston Villa
Frida Leonhardsen Maanum puts in a stellar performance and sends Arsenal semi-final bound
Arsenal WFC Twitter
27 January 2023
Frida Leonhardsen Maanum scored twice and set up the other as Arsenal beat Aston Villa 3-0 to progress in the Conti Cup and set up a meeting with holders Manchester City in the semi-finals. Caitlin Foord scored the third goal for the Gunners in what was comfortable win for them in front of 2,959 fans.
Jonas Eidevall gave Sabrina D’Angelo a debut in goal for the Gunners. Their other new January signings, Victoria Pelova and Kathrine Kuhl, were named as substitutes. Leah Williamson started in midfield. Carla Ward started Rachel Daly at right back for the visitors due to a shortage of defenders available. Sarah Mayling played in central defence and Laura Blindkilde Brown played in a more defensive midfield role.
Jordan Nobbs made her first return to play against Arsenal after leaving the club earlier in the month. Before the match, there was a presentation to her to recognise her long service to the club which was met with loud cheers and screams from the crowd.
The pitch had passed a midday inspection but it was still a cold evening at Meadow Park. The Arsenal fans in the North Bank were in good voice throughout the match. They saw their side have the first chance of the game in the 9th minute but Maanum curled her shot wide.
Kirsty Hanson had Villa’s first effort but it went high over the crossbar. The home side were having more of the opportunities with Lina Hurtig seeing her shot caught by Hannah Hampton in the 14th minute, then three minutes later, Rafaelle Souza’s low shot from 20-yards was also saved by Hampton.
Arsenal took the lead in the 29th minute. Maanum received the ball from throw in, turned her marker, then went on a run into the area and sent a low shot into corner of net from 15-yards.
A few minutes later, Kim Little saw an effort saved. Villa’s most dangerous moments at the other end came when Arsenal tried to play the ball out from the back. Apart from that, D’Angelo was dealing with things fairly easily.
The home side had a couple more opportunities before the break. Hampton made a fantastic save to push over Little’s shot in the 42nd minute. Lotte Wubben-Moy then put a header over as half time approached.
Five minutes into the second half, Arsenal made it 2-0. Foord won the ball after a Aston Villa throw in, passed to Maanum who sent a powerful shot into the top corner. This was the Norwegians 10th goal in 15 games.
Maanum provided the assist for the Gunners third goal in the 60th minute when her pass found Foord who run into the area and finished low into the corner of the net from about 8-yards.
The visitors were still not really testing Arsenal’s new keeper with a long-range bouncing shot going straight at her in the 66th minute.
Arsenal brought on Pelova and Kuhl to make their debuts in the 67th minute.
Kenza Dali put a free kick not far wide for Villa in the 71st minute. This was probably their best chance of the match.
Maanum had a chance to complete her hat-trick but shot wide in the 76th minute when one on one with Hampton after some nice build up which included a Foord back heel. The offside flag was up anyway.
Pelova was played through in the 80th minute but was denied a goal on her first appearance by a diving save from Hampton. Alisha Lehmann’s dipping effort finished on the roof of net for the visitors a minute later.
Pelova had another opportunity in the 83rd minute but shot wide from edge of area. Nobbs was taken off by Villa a minute later to loud cheers and screams again from the home fans.
Arsenal had the final couple of chances of the match with Hurtig and Maanum both seeing efforts go wide. Frida Leonhardsen Maanum was unsurprisingly named Player of the Match. She had indeed been outstanding.
The semi-final for the Gunners with Manchester City will take place on 8th/9th February at home. Before that, Arsenal are back at Meadow Park to play Leeds United in the FA Cup on Sunday. Aston Villa start their campaign in the FA Cup at home to AFC Fylde on the same day.
Arsenal (4-3-3): D’Angelo, Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Souza, McCabe (Catley 66’), Williamson (Kuhl 67’), Little (c), Maanum, Hurtig, Blackstenius (Pelova 67’), Foord
Substitutes: Zinsberger, Marckese, Beattie, Wienroither
Goals – Maanum 29’, 50’ Foord 60’
Booked – McCabe
Aston Villa (4-3-3): Hampton, Daly, Mayling, Corsie (c), Pacheco, Blindkilde, Dali, Nobbs (McLoughlin 83’), Lehmann, Gielnik (Littlejohn 61’), Hanson
Substitutes: Leat, MacPhail, Mullett, Shaw
Referee - Carl Brook
Attendance - 2.959