Manchester United Women 2 Arsenal 2

Friday 06 October 2023 22:05

Manchester United’s first home game of the season ended in a 2-2 draw after a hard-fought battle with Arsenal at Leigh Sports Village.

The visitors took the lead on 14 minutes through Stina Blackstenius, but it did not take long for Leah Galton to level things up.

A packed-out crowd roared the Reds on throughout and, with time running out, substitute Melvine Malard took the lead for United her on WSL debut.

The striker's finish looked to be the winner, but a wonder strike from Cloe Lacasse saw the sides share the points. 


It was a cagey affair in the opening minutes with both Arsenal and the Reds having early chances.

Blackstenius guided the ball into Mary Earps’ hands before Lucia Garcia also failed to get past Sabrina D’Angelo.

On 14 minutes, it was the visitors who opened the scoring at Leigh Sports Village after a run down the left hand side finished with Blackstenius slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Despite the early goal, United did not panic and we were back level just before the 30-minute mark.

D’Angelo, who had been brought into the Arsenal side to replace Manuela Zinsberger, came to clear a long ball from Gabby George but pressure from Galton was enough to force her into a mistake and our number 11 guided the ball into the back of an empty net.

The goal gave United an extra boost and but Katie Zelem’s free-kick couldn’t find anyone inti the box.

With five minutes left before half-time, Skinner’s side were controlling the game with some excellent team play.

Summer signing George worked well down the left side with Galton to produce a number of crosses but Geyse and Garcia could not direct their chances into the net.

A mistake from the United defence gave the Gunners a chance to take the lead in injury time but Millie Turner cleared the original effort.

The ball only fell as far as Alessia Russo but her attempt from the edge of the area went flying over the top of Earps’ goal. 


The Reds came out from the dressing room looking confident and it wasn’t long before we had another attempt, but Geyse’s low effort went screaming across and out for a goal-kick.

After Arsenal made a triple substitution, the visitors seemed to have more possession but nobody really troubled Earps until a cross on 65 minutes from Steph Catley whistled past everyone in the box.

Three minutes later, the Gunners came close once again to taking the lead when Russo found space in the box but an excellent foot from Earps kept the game level.

After Rachel Williams was brought on for Geyse, Hinata Miyazawa and Melvine Malard came on for their debuts, replacing Ella Toone and Garcia respectively.

Barely a minute later and Russo was back in the box with another attempt to score against her old team, this time hitting the post.

Despite a number of chances from Arsenal, United’s ‘never give up’ attitude shone through once again and our substitutes combined to take the lead.

There was a bit of confusion between Amanda Ilestedt and D’Angelo as they failed to clear their lines and Malard squeezed through to score and give United a late 2-1 advantage.

Arsenal weren’t for giving up and their fans thought they had levelled the game when Frida Maanum found the back of the net. However, the offside flag went up, much to the relief of the United fans.

The Reds looked to have taken all three points, but deep into injury time Gunners substitute Lacasse curled the ball into the top corner, giving Earps little chance.

The game finished level, with United and Arsenal sharing the points.

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United XI: Earps, George, Le Tissier, Blundell, Toone (Miyazawa 76), Zelem, Galton, Ladd, Garcia (Malard 76), Turner, Geyse (Williams 71)

Unused substitutes: Tullis-George, Riviere, Evans, Naalsund, Parris, Rabjohn

Goals: Galton 27, Malard 81

Yellow cards: Zelem 58,

Arsenal XI: D’Angelo, Beattie (Wubben-Moy 82), Catley, Little, Walti, Maritz (Lacasse 86), Pelova (L. Maanum 58), Russo, Blackstenius (Foord 58), Codina (McCabe 58), Ilestedt

Unused substitutes: Zinsberger, Hurtig, Kuhl,


Goals: Blackstenius 14, Lacasse 90+3

Yellow cards: McCabe 61, Foord 63, Eidevall 63