WSL: Manchester City v Arsenal
Manchester City leapfrog Arsenal with comprehensive display to move into third place in the WSL
11 February 2023
England and Man City duo Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp’s first-half goals were enough to extend the hosts' unbeaten league record to eleven games.
Less than 72 hours after the two teams met in a Continental Cup semi-final clash, Arsenal travelled to the Academy Stadium for a midday kick-off.
The hosts were undoubtedly looking for revenge over the Gunners who defeated them 1-0, ending City’s hopes of retaining the Continental Cup.
Going into the game both teams were level on points, 5 points behind leaders Chelsea, however, Arsenal have a game in hand over City.
Both managers made changes to the Continental Cup fixture that took place three days prior. Stina Blackstenius returned for Arsenal to lead the line alongside Catlin Foord and Victoria Pelova. A rare league start was handed to City captain Steph Houghton, after Alanna Kennedy picked up a knock on Wednesday evening.
In a game that was crucial in both sides' bid for Champions League football next season; it was the hosts who made a fast start. With five minutes barely on the clock, it was Lauren Hemp who found the back of the net for her 50th City goal. Hemp timed her run to perfection to meet Chloe Kelly’s pinpoint low cross.
The early goal certainly got the crowd going who were in fine voice and their energy transpired onto the pitch, as the Blues’ continued to create chances. Arsenal’s defence looked shaky and keeper, Manuela Zinsberger was called into action on numerous occasions.
Down the other end of the pitch Arsenal were limited to minimal chances. Kim Little attempted a long-range effort, but Ellie Roebuck was able to deal with it comfortably.
Moments before half-time, Kelly found the back of the net to double the host's tally. Bunny Shaw dispossessed Lotte Wubben-Moy before slipping in Kelly who was there for a tap-in. Nothing more than Gareth Taylor’s side deserved.
Half-time: Manchester City 2-0 Arsenal
After a disappointing first half for the visitors, Jonas Eidevall looked to the bench for inspiration. Katie McCabe and Lia Wälti replaced Wubben-Moy and Foord.
The Gunners started the second half with clear intent, and within minutes Blackstenius found herself through on goal after beating the offside trap but her shot hit the post.
Despite offering more offensively, Arsenal continued to look shaky at the back and gave up cheap possession.
Arsenal got a goal back midway through the second half via Rafaelle Souza, who intelligently directed her header into the bottom corner from a freekick by Maanum.
City continued to create chances and a spectacular effort by Yui Hasegawa from 25 yards out hit the crossbar.
Full-time: Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal
The result sees Gareth Taylor’s side move up to third in the WSL, just three points behind leaders Chelsea. Taylor was full of praise for his side at full time: “I think there was real desire and determination today to win at all costs and I think we showed the quality…I think we should have been four or five up at half-time, the pressure that we created and the mistakes we forced Arsenal’s backline into was impressive.”
After dropping points in their last two league games, Arsenal will hope to hit form following the international break to gain ground on the teams above them.
Manchester City: Roebuck, Casparij, Houghton (c), Greenwood, Aleixandri, Hasegawa, Angeldahl, Kelly, Coombs, Hemp, Shaw
Substitutes: MacIver, Fowler, Castellanos, Raso (90+1’), Ouahabi, Blakstad
Goals: Hemp (4’), Kelly (43’)
Booked: Greenwood, Hemp
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Souza, Martiz, Little (c), Maanum, Catley, Pelova, Blackstenius, Foord
Substitutes: D’Angelo, Beattie, Wälti (45’), McCabe (45’), Hurtig, Marckese, Queiroz (81’), Kühl (68’), Wienroither (81’)
Goal: Souza (59’)
Booked: Martiz, McCabe
Referee: Rebecca Welch