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Manchester City 2-1 Arsenal Women: Gunners fail to show up in Manchester, again

Arsenal’s title hopes have taken a significant blow with a another loss in Manchester

Manchester City Women v Arsenal Women - Barclays FA Women’s Super League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Arsenal Women’s winless run at the Academy Stadium continued with a 2-1 loss against Manchester City. Arsenal, who went up 1-0 through an early Vivianne Miedema goal—which ended up being Arsenal’s only shot on target. Manchester City equalized after half an hour, with Sam Mewis heading from a corner.

City were completely dominant after twenty minutes, with Arsenal’s midfield throughly second best. With Lia Wälti absent, Arsenal turned to Malin Gut to play a holding midfield role. City’s targeting of Gut meant Kim Little had to drop increasingly deeper, meaning that Arsenal, who handled Chelsea’s press well a month ago, could not handle Manchester City’s press, with Jill Roord unable to connect the midfield and attack.

With Arsenal’s attack isolated, they were unable to put City under any real pressure. Yet, despite this, Joe Montemurro’s subs avoided the midfield: the left-back Steph Catley curiously came on at right back for Leonie Maier, while Jordan Nobbs and Danïelle van de Donk, both central players, came on for Arsenal’s wide players, Caitlin Foord and Beth Mead. Montemurro did make a late change, with Lisa Evans coming on for Gut, moving Van de Donk central, but by then City were playing for the winner. A series of corners saw Katie McCabe clear a shot off the line, and some last ditch defending took Arsenal into the final minutes of the match. However, a misplayed Catley clearance—in an unfamiliar position—and a loose Van de Donk touch saw City take possession at the edge of the box, and Caroline Weir’s shot beat Lydia Williams at the far post.

The loss, Arsenal’s second of the season, means the Gunners are now in third: four points behind Manchester United, a point behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand, and a point ahead of Manchester City, who are closing in on the final Champions League place. Although there’s still two-thirds of the season to go, Arsenal cannot complain about their position, nor about the loss today, where they were second best tactically, and in and out of possession. The result means that Arsenal essentially cannot afford to drop many more points this season.

Arsenal: Williams; Maier (Catley), Williamson, Beattie, McCabe; Gut (Evans), Little, Roord; Mead (Van de Donk), Miedema, Foord (Nobbs)
Substitutes not used: Zinsberger, Stenson

Goals: Miedema 3’