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Blackstenius nicks a point for 10-player Gooners against Man United

By Football Reporter

Arsenal 1 v Man United 1

Stina Blackstenius celebrated her 26th birthday in style with the equaliser in ten-player Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United.

Alessia Russo’s early header for the Red Devils gave the visitors the edge at half-time before Swedish forward Blackstenius scored her first Arsenal goal ten minutes from time. It marked an unlucky comeback after Katie McCabe was sent off for the Gunners with 15 minutes remaining for two yellow cards. United seized the lead from Katie Zelem’s 9th-minute corner. The ball was delivered deep to Russo, and the forward’s powerful header beat the defender on the line. Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema came close to an equaliser after a quarter of an hour, the Dutch striker’s effort was tipped onto the bar by England international Mary Earps, before bouncing away. The home side started the second half strongest. A breakaway attack in the 57th minute was crossed in by captain Kim Little, but Earps was equal to substitute Caitlin Foord’s volley. Ella Toone should have made it two with 20 minutes to play as she got one-on-one with goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger, but pulled her shot wide at the crucial moment. Five minutes later, McCabe was sent off – a second booking for two strong tackles in midfield. Arsenal equalised with ten minutes to play, a rapid attacking move with the ball played down the middle for January signing Blackstenius to dribble and shoot past the advancing Earps. Both sides squandered late corners in an effort to find a winner, and the point is a dent in both teams' push for the title. Arsenal move five points clear at the top of the Barclays FA Women's Super League table, but second-placed Chelsea have two games in hand. To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal manager: “We adjusted things, but it is about not having those relationships on the pitch. Not starting the game better than we did today. I think that’s the disappointing part of the game.“I was pleased with the way we structured after Katie [McCabe] was sent off. We scored and we changed that again, so we had a more solid defensive formation. That [the goal] was a perfect example of showing the best abilities of Viv with that pass, and Stina. “I’m very optimistic about the future if we can get the players together and practice. We had 19 players in the squad, but it’s not been 19 players practising with each other. That’s a massive part for us, to spend time together, to get that collective understanding. We need to get that time together. We need to get the consistency in the starting 11 and in the squad to build those relationships. I’m really optimistic, but we need to be able to do that soon. “It was generous to share her [Blackstenius] birthday gift with everyone at the club. I’ve been coaching against her many times, and I know how it feels to concede against her, how fast she is, and how she times those runs. I’m happy to have her in my team.” Marc Skinner, Manchester United manager: “We’ve been away to Bridgwater, a difficult pitch to play on. We came to Chelsea, that intense game, and lost, and had to take that psychological knock. We came to Arsenal, away again, and deserved three points, I think. I’m disappointed with the goal, but we’ve been defensively sound, structured, organised, and we gave Arsenal. very little on their own patch. It was a moment of concentration which we’ll learn. I’ve seen the growth of the team, and the psychological resilience I’ve asked from them since the start of the season. “I talk heavily about the psychology of the performance we put out. We come away from this disappointed. We know how difficult these teams are to play, but we want to win these games. They’re growing every day. Their belief in each other. I have no doubt we’ll end up where we want to be.” On Toone's miss: "They’re big moments, we have to take them. We know Ella Toone, she’ll do 100 of those in training and score everyone. She’ll be upset for not taking that moment. For us, it’s part of the game. We’ll be in the position where we want to be fighting in and amongst these top three.” STATS Arsenal (3-4-3): Manuela Zinsberger, Jen Beattie, Steph Catley, Jordan Nobbs, Beth Mead, Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema, Lia Walti, Katie McCabe, Noelle Maritz, Tobin Heath Substitutes: Caitlin Foord for Heath 46, Frida Maanum for Beattie 56, Stina Blackstenius for Nobbs 56, Rafaelle Souza for Catley 69, Simone Boye for Mead 84 Substitutes not used: Lydia Williams, Laura Wienroither, Nikita Parris Goals: Blackstenius 79 Bookings: McCabe 56, Miedema 62 Red Cards: McCabe 75 Manchester United (4-3-3): Mary Earps, Ella Toone, Hayley Ladd, Hannah Blundell, Alessia Russo, Katie Zelem, Ona Batlle, Leah Galton, Maria Thorisdottir, Signe Bruun, Diane Caldwell Substitutes: Jackie Groenen for Russo 72, Martha Thomas for Bruun 72 Substitutes not used: Safia Middleton-Patel, Martha Harris, Vilde Boe Risa, Ivana Fuso, Kirsty Hanson, Kirsty Smith, Carrie Jones Goals: Russo 9 Bookings: Caldwell 55 Referee: Elizabeth Simms Attendance: 2385

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