Women's Super League
Millie Turner (3 OG)
Carlotte Wubben-Moy (51)
Arsenal pick up crucial three points in race for the Champions League with win over Manchester United
- Credit: PA
Arsenal picked up a crucial three points in the race for the Champions League places on Friday beating Manchester United 2-0 at Meadow Park.
The Gunners closed the gap on the Red Devils in third to three points but do have a game in hand over their opponents.
The Gunners were dealt a blow before kick-off with Leah Williamson missing out on the squad with a quad injury forcing Lia Wälti into a make-shift centre-back role.
Arsenal started like a house on fire taking the lead inside just 3 minutes as Caitlin Foord found the space and played in Jill Roord who's shot took a heavy deflection off Millie Turner and beyond Mary Earps.
Casey Stoney's side responded well from going behind as Lauren James drove at the Arsenal defence before pulling the ball back for Christen Press who's effort was blocked by Lotte Wubben-Moy and sailed into the hands of Manuela Zinsberger.
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Montemurro's side were showing their quality on the counter attack as they caused the Manchester United problems as Vivianne Miedema crossed aiming for Beth Mead but Turner did well to slide the ball behind.
The opening stages were very open with Press having another sight of goal as her shot was well blocked by Gunners captain Kim Little after Jackie Groenen's low cross.
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On 20 minutes it was the Gunners who carved out a good opening as Beth Mead cut inside but her shot was well blocked by Ona Batlle as the ball went behind for a corner.
Manchester United then had a huge chance to equalise seven minutes later as James found herself in space just outside the box but she fizzed her effort over the crossbar when she should have found the back of the Gunners net.
It was then the turn of Ella Toone to have a decent opportunity to equalise when Lucy Stainforth crossed the ball low into the box but Toone couldn't convert sliding in at the back-post.
Katie McCabe then found herself in the book on 32 minutes as she flew into a challenge with Toone before picking up the first yellow card of the match.
Press then decided to have a pop from range on 35 minutes but she curled her effort wide of Zinsberger's right hand post.
Manchester United had the last chance of the first half as Turner tried to make up for her earlier own goal as she met a free-kick but could only head into the hands of Zinsberger who initially came out and then retreated.
Arsenal started the second half the same way as they started the first on top as Mead created a good opportunity for herself as she cut inside but fizzed her effort wide of the goal.
The Gunners were playing with a lot of energy and they forced Earps into a good save as Miedema pulled the trigger from a tight angle before the keeper pushed the ball around for a corner.
From the resulting corner the Gunners doubled their lead as McCabe swung in the ball and Lotte Wubben-Moy rose highest to thump her header beyond the Manchester United keeper and into the net for 2-0 and her second goal of the season.
On 52 minutes Mead found herself in the book as she left a boot in on James on the halfway line resulted in Amy Fearn showing her a yellow card.
Earps then was called into action on 58 minutes as after some sloppy passing from the Red Devils nearly resulted in Miedema being played in but the keeper came out to smother the loose ball.
Arsenal were then reduced to ten as Mead was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Stainforth on 62 minutes.
Manchester United then put a good passage of play together as Jess Sigsworth, Toone and Stainforth linked up but Wubben-Moy and Lia Wälti came out to close the space down and stop them getting the shot away.
On 79 minutes McCabe was played in down the flank before her cross aiming for Miedema was well intercepted by Amy Turner before the Dutch forward could reach it.
Casey Stoney's side then had the ball in the net in the 81st minute when Sigsworth met a cross with a header that Zinsberger parried before Toone tapped the loose ball into the empty net but the flag was raised and the goal was chalked off.
Montemurro then made his first change when Roord was replaced by Malin Gut to see the game out with Gut being a defensive option for the Gunners.
Zinsberger had to be alert again with six minutes to go as Toone swung the ball in the box and the keeper got both hands behind it to take the pressure off the Arsenal defence.
Time was running out for Manchester United but they did have another opportunity to pull a goal back with Katie Zelem picking the ball up at the back-post but she lacked composure and fired her effort over the top.
The Gunners were then to make a double change as Jordan Nobbs and Anna Patten replaced Little and van de Donk with four minutes of the game remaining.
Arsenal were seeing the game out in a professional manner with Foord chasing every ball down and keeping it in the corner before they made their final change with Miedema coming off to be replaced by Lisa Evans in the 90th minute.
However it was Manchester United who had the final opportunity of the match as former Birmingham City star Stainforth hit a free-kick straight into the Arsenal defensive wall.
Arsenal: Zinsberger, Maritz, Wubben-Moy, Wälti, McCabe, Little (Patten 86), van de Donk (Nobbs 86), Roord (Gut 82),Mead, Foord, Miedema (Evans 90).
Unused substitutes: Williams, Stenson, Maier.