Manchester United welcome Arsenal to Leigh Sports Village this afternoon for another match in the FA Women’s Super League. It’s The Gunners who currently sit at the top of the table after winning all five league matches they’ve played so far. Meanwhile, United sit close behind them in third, winning four matches and gaining a point from their 1-1 draw with Chelsea in September.
Arsenal’s squad currently holds the league’s top three goalscorers; Vivianne Miedema, who has scored ten goals in five, Jill Roord, who has scored six goals in two, and Caitlin Foord, who has scored four goals in five. Manchester United’s Alessia Russo has scored three goals in four league games for the team so far, also gaining two assists. However, Russo will not be appearing in today’s fixture after sustaining a hamstring injury.
Joe Montemurro will be hoping to continue The Gunners’ unbeaten run in the league with a sixth consecutive win. Meanwhile, United boss Casey Stoney will be aiming to claim the victory in order to take over their rivals and sail into first. Emillia Hawkins takes you through all the action as it happens.
Manchester United Starting XI: Mary Earps, Ona Battle, Amy Turner (c), Millie Turner, Leah Galton, Hayley Ladd, Jackie Groenen, Kirsty Hanson, Ella Toone, Tobin Heath, Christen Press.
Arsenal Starting XI: Manuela Zinsberger, Leah Williamson, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Viktoria Schnaderbeck, Malin Gut, Lia Walti, Katie McCabe, Danielle Van De Donk, Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Caitlin Foord.
1′ Arsenal get us underway for today’s fixture.
3′ Manchester United have had a positive start to the game, pressurising the Arsenal defence. Press has the first shot of the game after Toone passes the ball into the box, but her effort ends up well over the crossbar.
10′ Arsenal are easing themselves more and more into this game, looking very dangerous when on the attack. Miedema wins the ball in the centre of the pitch and drives forward, eventually releasing the ball and sending it through to Foord, but her touch lets her down and the ball is comfortably cleared by the United backline.
16′ It’s end-to-end here at the Leigh Sports Village, as Williamson prevents a United attack and does well to drive the ball into the oppositions half. The move eventually ends with an Arsenal corner, but United do well to clear it away from danger.
19′ Heath sends a free kick into the Arsenal penalty area, but it is cleared out of danger by Miedema. Either team are looking like they could break the deadlock right now.
22′ United come very close to taking the lead as Heath sends a great ball into Press, who is waiting in the penalty area, but her shot rockets narrowly over the crossbar.
25′ Another chance for United as Heath sends the ball into Press from the left, but the final shot is blocked by an outstanding tackle from Schnaderbeck. The partnership between these two players is looking very dangerous.
29′ United come agonisingly close once again as Press manages to weave her way through the Arsenal defence, but her final shot is stopped by an excellent save from Zinsberger.
32′ Van De Donk receives the ball on the edge of the penalty area, but she is dispossessed and the ball falls to Toone, her final shot is directed straight into the arms of Zinsberger.
38′ Arsenal are struggling to escape their own half at the moment. United are doing a very good job at pressing, meaning that the Gunners’ top goalscorer is being kept quiet for now.
45′ One minute to be added on…
HALF TIME: Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal
It’s Manchester United who are looking like the more dominant side so far in this match, with Press coming close to scoring on multiple occasions. The Gunners need to break through this United defence, but this game could easily go either way right now.
Substitution For Manchester United: Kirsty Hanson is replaced by Jess Sigsworth.
47′ Manchester United start the second half as they ended the first. Heath drives in from the left and has another attempt on goal, but her effort is driven wide. Only minutes later and United are on the attack again as Sigsworth crosses the ball into Groenen from the right, but her headed effort glances just wide of the goal.
49′ Ladd gives the ball away straight to Miedema, who drives towards the United penalty area. She tries to go on her own but the ball is won comfortably by Amy Turner in defence.
50′ The first yellow card of the game is given to Arsenal’s Wubben-Moy as she recklessly slides into Galton.
58′ Wubben-Moy drives into open space down the right side of the pitch but appears to be hesitant as she eventually attempts to pass the ball through to Mead, but it heads straight out of play for a goal kick.
59′ Substitution for Arsenal: Van De Donk and Malin Gut make way for Little and Roord.
61′ The Gunners have one of their first proper chances of the game as Mead drives into the Manchester United penalty area, but her shot is weak and is claimed easily by Earps.
63′ Opportunity for Arsenal as McCabe drives down the left and sends the ball into Foord, whose shot is kept out by Earps. Arsenal have a corner which finds Miedema, and her headed effort is saved again by the goalkeeper.
66′ Substitution for Manchester United: Katie Zelem replaces Ladd.
70′ Arsenal appear to be growing more and more in confidence after a shaky start. Mead drives down the right wing, eventually passing the ball to Kim Little who attempts to cross the ball into the danger zone but it is cleared by the United defence.
71′ Substitution for Manchester United: Lauren James comes on to replace Press.
72′ Arsenal come so close to gaining the lead as the ball is crossed into the box, Amy Turner gets contact on it but the ball deflects towards goal. Earps does well to react and sends the ball out for a corner.
75′ Chance for United as Toone sends a superb ball through to Galton, whose shot heads just over the crossbar.
78′ Substitution for Manchester United: Lucy Staniforth comes on to replace Heath.
78′ Substitution for Arsenal: Wubben-Moy makes way for Leonie Maier.
83′ GOAL: Manchester United take the lead after Sigsworth makes a brilliant run to get past Schnaderbeck, she passes the ball to Toone on the edge of the penalty area and her shot flies into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
88′ One goal is not enough for United as it seems as they continue to press this Arsenal side. The Gunners do not look like they are going to get back into this one.
89′ Substitution for Arsenal: Schnaderbeck is forced off with an injury and is replaced by Ruby Mace.
FULL TIME: Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
A late goal from Toone seals all three points for Manchester United, not only ending Arsenal’s unbeaten league run this season, but also sending United straight to the top of the WSL table. Amy Turner and the Manchester United defence did an outstanding job at keeping the Arsenal attack at bay, and the reds deservedly pick up all three points from the fixture.