Five things we learned about Arsenal in Manchester United victory
- Credit: PA
Arsenal's 2-0 win over Manchester United on Friday evening was the Gunners biggest win of the season to date.
It gives them the advantage of finishing third ahead of the Red Devils as they still have a game in hand over their opponents and a superior goal difference.
Here are five things we learned from the Gunners win:
1: Lotte Wubben-Moy is more than capable of stepping up.
Wubben-Moy put in a player-of-the-match performance, not just with the goal that sealed the victory but defensively she put was outstanding.
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Arsenal were without Leah Williamson and Jennifer Beattie for the game due to injury meaning that Wubben-Moy and Lia Wälti partnered one another at centre-back.
Wubben-Moy won her battles and individual duels and showed she is more than capable of playing when the most pressure is on.
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The centre-back has put in some excellent performances this season but two that stand out are the draw at home to Chelsea and Friday's win.
2: Arsenal played more direct.
From goal-kicks Arsenal went more direct than usual with goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger, the Gunners usually play out from the back but against Manchester United the keeper went more direct to beat their high press.
Joe Montemurro said after the match on this tactic: "We knew there would be space through our full-backs and Manuela was instructed to go into those areas and we got a fair bit of success out of it, and we had a player coming underneath so we were able to expose them. It was part of it but not the only option."
3: Different corner routine.
Arsenal usually vary their corner routines and often like to go short. On Friday all six of the Gunners’ corners were sent into the penalty area directly.
Manchester United have struggled to deal with set-pieces this season and Arsenal once again exploited that, scoring their second goal when Katie McCabe whipped in a ball for Wubben-Moy to rise highest and head beyond Mary Earps. Manchester United's decision to allow Katie Zelem to mark Wubben-Moy was one they will regret.
Manchester United used zonal marking from the corners and that caused them problems with Arsenal's movement catching them out on several occasions.
Danielle van de Donk, Vivianne Miedema and Wubben-Moy were key as their movement at the back post moved the Manchester United defence around and allowed them to create more space to have a shot on goal.
Arsenal exploited United’s weakness at defending corners with a mixture of front-post deliveries to Miedema and back-post deliveries to Wubben-Moy.
4: Katie McCabe is crucial for Arsenal.
Katie McCabe showed how crucial she is for Arsenal once again. She grabbed the assist for the second goaland has now provided 10 assists in the Women's Super League this season. She is only two away from equalling Beth Mead's record from the 2018-19 title-winning season.
The Republic of Ireland captain also did her defensive duties in a running battle with Ella Toone. She got the better of the young England International with her battling performance.
McCabe created space for Caitlin Foord and Vivianne Miedema, drawing the Manchester United defence out to her and allowed the Arsenal attacking players to move into space and create chances.
Her quality of crossing cannot go unnoticed as every time she put a corner into the box, Manchester United looked uncomfortable.
5: Lia Wälti really is versatile
Swiss International Lia Wälti was trusted against one of the best attackers in the world in Christen Press, and dealt with her impeccably.
Wälti looked comfortable alongside Wubben-Moy at the back as Arsenal held firm against a quick United attack.
Wälti has played centre-back for Switzerland in the past only, but not often. It isn't her natural position and she excelled in what was a crucial match for the Gunners.
She was calm on the ball and that set the tone for the team.