Miedema and McCabe keep Arsenal top of the pile with 2-0 win at Man United
By Football Reporter
Vivianne Miedema became the first player in Barclays FA WSL history to score against every side she’s faced as Arsenal convincingly defeated Manchester United 2-0.
The Dutch striker’s effort was assisted by Katie McCabe, who doubled the Gunners’ tally ten minutes later.
United were resilient and nearly pulled within one in the second half, but couldn’t find the finishing touch.
The win ensured Arsenal remain top of the Barclays FA WSL table, while United dropped their first in five.
The visitors were on top almost throughout as they comfortably extended their unbeaten record this term.
Arsenal produced a resolute response to dropping their first points of the campaign against Spurs last time out.
In front of watching England head coach Sarina Wiegman at the Leigh Sports Village, pace-setters Arsenal enjoyed much the better of the opening 45 minutes.
However, their dominance went without reward, with Beth Mead going closest early on when her thumping left-footed strike crashed against the crossbar.
Katie McCabe was twice denied by a defensive wall from a free-kick in quick succession.
Marc Skinner’s Reds, who went into the contest on the back of three consecutive Super League draws, struggled to make significant inroads.
Shortly before the interval Arsenal full-back Noelle Maritz latched on to McCabe’s smart cut-back before being denied by a superb reaction save from United keeper Mary Earps.
Arsenal finally got their breakthrough three minutes after the restart.
After meeting McCabe’s pass, Dutch ace Vivianne Miedema clinically drilled home her 13th goal of the season from 22 yards,
The visitors’ lead was doubled in the 57th minute when McCabe slotted home from the penalty spot after she had been clattered in the box by Aoife Mannion.
United almost halved the deficit when skipper Katie Zelem was thwarted by Manuela Zinsberger’s point-blank stop, while Miedema then clipped a free-kick against the crossbar at the other end.
But Jonas Eidevall’s side were able to prevent any further damage and hung on for all three points.
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Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall said: "It was a well-needed start which made the second half a very easy journey for us against a very difficult opponent in a difficult match.
"From a personal point of view, I'm still learning the league, the club the players. Of course I'm very pleased with the results [this season] but I think the most important thing is that we have this really, really good learning environment which we are developing.
"We don't view this as a finished project. We need to develop and perform every matchday and that's what I really like working with this group of staff and players."
Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner said: "It's probably a fair result in terms of chances created. They're a thought team to play against, they have lots and lots of experienced international players and they did their job today.
"We could be better in moments, of course, we could. I think we could make them work harder in the attacking third a little bit.
"We definitely need to – if we aspire to be in those positions – make sure we have the depth in our team to support the wonderful talented players that we have so that when it's a three-game week we can continue to have that energy in that final game.
Manchester United: (4-2-3-1): 27 Mary Earps; 17 Ona Batlle; 5 Aoife Mannion; 3 Maria Thorisdottir; 6 Hannah Blundell; 37 Lucy Staniforth; 10 Katie Zelem; 18 Kirsty Hanson; 7 Ella Toone; 11 Leah Galton; 23 Alessia Russo
Substitutes: 24 Carrie Jones for Hanson 77’, 8 Vilde Boe Risa for Zelem 87’
Substitutes not used: 32 Sophie Baggaley; 12 Hayley Ladd; 13 Ivana Fuso; 20 Kirsty Smith; 21 Millie Turner
Bookings: Blundell 75’
Arsenal: (4-3-3): 1 Manuela Zinsberger; 16 Noelle Maritz; 3 Lotte Wubben-Moy; 5 Jennifer Beattie; 7 Steph Catley; 12 Frida Maanum; 13 Lia Walti; 10 Kim Little; 9 Beth Mead; 11 Vivianne Miedema; 15 Katie McCabe
Substitutes: 8 Jordan Nobbs for Kim Little 45, 14 Nikita Parris for McCabe 77’, 19 Caitlin Foord for Miedema 85’, 4 Anna Patten for Maritz 90+5’
Substitutes not used: 18 Lydia Williams, 24 Fran Stenson, 29 Teyah Goldie, 33 Halle Houssein
Goals: Miedema 48’, McCabe 57’
Bookings: McCabe 51’
Referee: Emily Heaslip