Arsenal Women are in the Continental League Cup final for the third straight season after beating Manchester City 2-1 in the semi-final. Arsenal, who had played City in both finals, will play Chelsea in the final, at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground on 29 February.
City began the brighter of the two sides, applying early pressure to Manuela Zinsberger’s goal, but it was Arsenal who scored first, inside six minutes. Gemma Bonner gave the ball away, Beth Mead took possession and then played in Vivianne Miedema, who turned Steph Houghton and fired across a stricken Ellie Roebuck.
For the next fifteen minutes, Arsenal largely held City off, though there was some sloppiness in the build-up play, further affected by the absence of both Jordan Nobbs and Kim Little, with Jill Roord and Danïelle van de Donk both better further up the pitch. Then Manchester City began to take advantage of Arsenal’s sloppy play, with Lauren Hemp in particular a threat. It was Arsenal, though, who could actually create a shot, and from there, a second goal. Miedema drove through the middle, checked back, and laid the ball off to Van de Donk. Van de Donk maneuvered the ball onto her left foot and drilled her shot through the hands of Roebuck, giving Arsenal a two-goal advantage on the stroke of half time.
The second half started with Arsenal looking to extend their lead, but City, through Hemp, got back in the game. After continually getting the better of Leonie Maier, the German brought Hemp down in the penalty box. Manuela Zinsberger saved Ellen White’s penalty, but from the ensuing corner, Bonner beat Van de Donk and Katie McCabe to bring City within a goal.
Straight after, Arsenal should’ve scored: Van de Donk’s excellent through ball found Miedema, who beat Houghton, but couldn’t beat Roebuck, who saved. Mead also had a chance to add a third, with her left-footed shot saved by Roebuck’s foot at her near post, and McCabe had a shot cleared off the line in a goal-mouth scramble from an Arsenal corner. Indeed, despite having less control in the second half, it was Arsenal who created the better chances, and they saw out the final period of the game with relative comfort, with City creating very little.
A third straight final for Arsenal, and they will play Chelsea, who have never won the competition. More immediately, Arsenal play Manchester City again this weekend, this time in Manchester.
Arsenal 2: Miedema (7’), Van de Donk (44’)
Manchester City 1: Bonner (60’)
Arsenal: Zinsberger; Maier, Williamson, Schnaderbeck, McCabe; Wälti, Roord, Van de Donk; Evans (Nobbs 90+1’), Miedema, Mead
Subs not used: Peyraud-Magnin, Quinn, Grant, Filis, Mace