Report: Arsenal 3 United Women 1

Saturday 17 February 2024 14:40

Manchester United Women suffered a 3-1 defeat to Arsenal in front of a WSL record crowd of 60,160 at the Emirates Stadium.

United started brightly, putting pressure on the Gunners from the get-go but an own goal, following an Arsenal corner in the 10th minute, swung momentum towards the hosts. 

Just past the half-hour mark, Katie Zelem saw her clearance find the head of Cloe Lacasse who doubled the Gunners’ lead and, a minute before the interval, a two-goal deficit was increased to three when Gemma Evans conceded a penalty which Kim Little converted.

A number of solid saves from Mary Earps in the second half denied Arsenal from adding to their tally, before Lucia Garcia bagged a consolation goal deep into stoppage time for the Reds.


United started brightly, a short back pass from Laia Codina in the opening 30 seconds was pounced on by Nikita Parris. Sabrina D’Angelo came out of her area and appeared a little late with her challenge on Parris but the referee waved away the Reds' shouts for a free-kick.

Both teams were pressing high but it was Arsenal that opened the scoring, against the run of play, in the 10th minute. A cross, searching for Beth Mead, was well dealt with by Evans who turned it behind for a corner. The box was congested and the delivery by Katie McCabe deflected off the leg of Geyse, and onto Le Tissier, before finding the back of the net. 

The hosts launched another attack and this time it was Mead who unleashed a rocket strike that looked to be heading towards the top corner but Millie Turner defended well and headed it out for a corner.

United had to ride out a dominant spell of possession from Arsenal but found an opportunity to break forward through Garcia, but her attack fizzled out. Moments later, she managed to find Ella Toone just outside the area and her shot was deflected just millimetres wide.  

For all of United’s work in trying to get back into the game at a goal down, it was undone 10 minutes from half-time. Zelem, who was playing her 150th game for the club, was falling as she tried to divert the ball away from the feet of Stina Blackstenius, but her clearance strayed into the path of Lacasse, who headed it past Mary Earps and into the net.

Evans found herself in the book and was walking a fine line as 10 minutes later the referee deemed that she had caught Mead in the penalty area. She awarded Arsenal a spot-kick and Little sent Earps the wrong way to make it 3-0.
United had it all to do in the second half, but did not go down without a fight.

The Reds made a change at the start of the second half as Evans made way for Leah Galton. The Gunners stepped off the gas which allowed United to launch an attack but Garcia struggled to break through the Arsenal defence. Moments later, she managed to deliver a cross to the centre of the area but Parris’s header flew over the bar.

Arsenal looked dangerous when they did come forward and Blackstenius was inches away from finding a fourth but luckily Earps was there to scoop it out of her path. Arsenal came again, Blackstenius was one-on-one with Earps but our goalkeeper raced out and made herself big, making a fantastic save to deny the hosts their fourth.
Earps produced an important save to keep out the attempt from the Arsenal forward.

The danger wasn’t over yet as Mead found herself in enough space to get a shot away but it rattled the woodwork.

United made another change, Rachel Williams came on, as did Hayley Ladd, who was making her 100th appearance for the club. United darted forwards and Parris found herself with an opportunity to get us back into the contest but her shot was well saved at the near post by D’Angelo.

The tempo died down in the latter stages of the game, and the Reds were able to get on the scoresheet before the final whistle. Zelem took a short corner to Toone on the left, who delivered a cross to the back post where Garcia ran through, unmarked, to tap it into the back of the net, in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

Garcia was in the right place at the right time, wiping out the hosts' clean sheet.


Arsenal: D’Angelo; McCabe, Codina, Wubben-Moy, Catley (Foord 84); Walti, Pelova (Cooney-Cross 46); Mead (Maanum 75), Little (Miedema 75), Lacasse; Blackstenius (Russo 66).

Unused substitutes: Zinsberger, Lia, Reid, Bouhaddi.

Goals: Geyse (og) 10, Lacasse 35, Little (pen) 44.

Bookings: McCabe 38, Wubben-Moy 50.

United: Earps; Le Tissier, Turner, Blundell, Evans (Galton 46); Naalsund (Ladd 70), Zelem; Geyse (Williams 62), Toone, Garcia; Parris (Malard 78).

Unused substitutes: Tullis-Joyce, Mannion, Guerrero, Aherne.

Goals: Garcia 90+6.

Bookings: Blundell 26; Evans 34.