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Match report: Arsenal 2-3 Manchester United

by Zoe Hodges

Manchester United have beaten league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates in front of a crowd of over 40,000 people in what was an energetic and hard fought game of football.

United were attacking well in the first half, Leah Galton made a number of good runs through the middle but they couldn’t capitalise on their opportunities.

After a good run from Parris and Toone, Galton, flanked by a defender had a shot blocked and it went out for a corner. Le Tissier’s header was just over the bar.

Arsenal had a good spell of possession and put pressure on United’s defence and keeper Mary Earps when they lost possession, trying to force the back line into making a mistake.

Zelem was switching the ball brilliantly, unlocking space for United to attack down the wings.

Parris had a golden opportunity to make it 1-0, but her shot from the edge of the area around the 25 minute mark caught a deflection and flew over the bar.

Although United were playing well, you could see how Arsenal could easily get in behind the defence and create opportunities with one or two good passes.

Arsenal were growing into the game around half an hour in and you got the feeling that, just like against Chelsea, despite being the better team for the first half, they would end up regretting not taking their chances.

After dropping off for ten minutes or so, United came back at them and this time, they took their chance! A beautiful through ball from Russo to Ladd, who crossed it into the box. An error in her positioning drew Zinsburger out of her goal leaving it wide open for Toone to tap in.

Hayley Ladd was having a really great game, defending resolutely as Arsenal tried to find a way to draw level before half time. Arsenal had just one shot in the first half.

In the first minute of the second half Arsenal equalised. The defence just didn’t close Maanum down as she picked it up in her own half and ran with it, her shot was deflected and looped up over Earps who was fuming with her defenders and rightly so!

United tried to bounce back immediately. A short back pass to Zinsburger almost allowed Russo to sneak in but it was read well by the keeper.

Moments later and Zelem had a shot but it was off target and didn’t trouble the keeper.

It was becoming a feisty game and after a nasty challenge on Parris, United manager Marc Skinner found himself in the book for his angry reaction.

United just couldn’t defend and Arsenal, dominating this second half, got their second when Wienroither connected perfectly with McCabe’s cross.

What was it about Chelsea, Arsenal and City? United just seem to fall apart against the top three, the top three that they are aiming to disrupt and break into this year.

But hold on, a free kick for United and Katie Zelem’s delivery found the head of Millie Turner, it hit the bottom of the crossbar and bounced down behind the line!

In the 90th minute, United almost edged in front but Garcia’s shot was well saved by Zinsburger. Moments later, Thomas forced her into another great save with her shot from the six yards out.

A corner to Manchester United ensued, Zelem delivered into the box again and it found the head of Russo this time and the visitors took the lead again!

Elation from the players, who almost couldn’t believe how they’d turned it around and elation on the sidelines as those on the bench leapt to their feet.

With seven minutes of injury time to play which turned into ten, the work wasn’t done yet as the Reds dug in deep as a team to hold on for the win.

As the final whistle blew Skinner once again jumped up in delight as his team had proven that not only could they beat the league leaders, but they could come from behind and take points off the previously unbeaten London outfit.

Team: Earps, Blundell, Turner, Le Tissier, Batlle, Zelem, Ladd, Toone, Russo, Galton (Garcia 72), Parris (Thomas 80)

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