Arsenal suffer late loss at City

Manchester City's Chloe Kelly (left) and Arsenal's Beth Mead battle for the ball during the FA Women

Manchester City's Chloe Kelly (left) and Arsenal's Beth Mead battle for the ball during the FA Women's Super League match at The Academy Stadium, Manchester. - Credit: PA

Arsenal fell to a dramatic late defeat at title rivals Manchester City after an injury-time strike from former Gunner Caroline Weir. 

The visitors started the game very much on top with a high intensity, pressing City high and they had the opening chance when Katie McCabe crossed for Jill Roord but she couldn't get a connection at the back post. 

Joe Montemurro's team were playing some really good football with plenty of energy and took the lead on three minutes when Lucy Bronze gave the ball away and Vivianne Miedema fired low across Ellie Roebuck and into the bottom corner of the net. 

Montemurro clearly set his team up to hit Gareth Taylor's City side on the counter attack and when Bronze saw her cross headed away by Leah Williamson Arsenal broke free and Miedema got in behind the home defence but she took a heavy touch and the ball rolled through to Roebuck in goal. 

City then started to apply a little bit of pressure when Sam Mewis picked out Weir in the 17th minute but she fired over the crossbar from the edge of the area. 


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From the resulting goal-kick Lydia Williams played it short to Jennifer Beattie who lost out to Mewis but she couldn't control the loose ball and it rolled behind for another goal-kick. 

City were very much starting to take control of the game but Williamson came to Arsenal's rescue when Lauren Hemp, who was making her first start since the Community Shield in August, skipped her way beyond the challenges but Williamson stepped across to make the important tackle. 

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Taylor's side then did equalise in the 30th minute when Mewis rose highest from a corner, after Williams had raced off her line and failed to make a connection on the ball, and the USA international headed into the ground and into the net for her thrid WSL goal of the season. 

Arsenal then had their best spell of play since the goal when Mead fizzed a low cross in, aiming for Miedema but it was overhit and sailed just out for a goal-kick.

It was City who had the final opening of the first half when former Everton star Kelly fizzed a shot wide from 30 yards out. 

And City started the second half well when Mewis got into the box ahead of Beattie before hooked her effort into the hands of Williams in the Gunners goal at the near post.

Williams then had to be alert in the 52nd minute when Alex Greenwood whipped a free-kick into the box and did well to punch the ball away before a connection could be made at the back post. 

Williamson then made a fantastic block on 58 minutes as Hemp tried to get a cross in as the Arsenal defender did really well to make the crucial block, stopping the cross getting through into the box.

Arsenal just couldn't deal with City's press as the hosts boxed the Gunners in, not allowing them to play their usual game full of confidence.

Montemurro then made a change on 67 minutes as Steph Catley came on for Leonie Maier in a shuffle at the back. 

One minute later City were inches away from taking the lead when Williams made a mess of her clearance and the ball fell to Weir who fired from range but the ball sailed just wide of the target when it looked as if it was creeping into the bottom corner of the net. 

Catley then came to the Gunners aid in the 78th minute when Weir got a low cross away aiming for Georgia Stanway who would have scored from close range but the Australian did well to flick the ball away from the target. 

Arsenal then had a rare opportunity in the second half when Mead floated a cross in but Roebuck was there to push the ball behind for a corner that came to nothing. 

Montemurro made a double change with 10 minutes to go as Danielle van de Donk and Jordan Nobbs came on for Mead and Foord to try and get the Gunners on the front foot. 

With five minutes to go Beattie did well to stop Mewis putting City ahead when she met a corner at the front post but flicked it wide of goal. 

Montemurro then made his final change when Lisa Evans replaced Swiss midfielder Malin Gut in the 89th minute.

In stoppage time McCabe, on her 100th appearance for the Gunners, came to the rescue as she cleared a Steph Houghton header off the line when it looked as if Taylor's side had claimed all three points. 

However the drama wasn't over and Weir won the game for City after Arsenal dallied on the ball and it fell for Stanway who' eshot took a deflection before finding the Scottish International who cracked a low effort in beyond the reach of Williams to seal a deserved victory for the home side. 

Arsenal: Williams, Maier (Catley 66), McCabe, Williamson, Beattie, Little, Gut (Evans 88), Roord, Mead (van de Donk 80), Miedema, Foord (Nobbs 80). Unused subs: Zinsberger, Stenson.

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