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Looking back: Arsenal Women end seven-year wait to lift WSL trophy

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 May 2020

Arsenal women's captain Kim Little celebrates with the trophy during the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, London. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal women's captain Kim Little celebrates with the trophy during the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, London. Picture: John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal Women lifted the FA Women’s Super League trophy for the first time in seven years on May 11, 2019.

Having sealed the title at Brighton & Hove Albion, the Gunners played host to Manchester City on the final day of the season.

Nick Cushing’s side arrived hoping to complete an unbeaten campaign, having already beaten Arsenal 2-0 in December thanks to a Georgia Stanway double.

But it was to be Joe Montemurro’s side who started the better as Leah Williamson played a superb ball into the path of Beth Mead on six minutes before she rattled her effort into the side netting.

Williamson was a real threat to City, especially in the first half, and on 11 minutes she met a Mead free-kick but headed over under pressure from Steph Houghton.

City then created an opening of their own with Kiera Walsh drilling an effort from range that had Sari Van Veenedaal scrambling after an untimely deflection, but the ball sailed just wide of the target.

It was then the turn of City’s stopper Roebuck to come to the rescue when Vivianne Miedema released Kim Little before her effort was beaten away by the England international at her near post.

In an end-to-end battle, City started to take control of the affair and Lauren Hemp in particular was causing plenty of problems for the Gunners defence.

Just before the half-hour mark it was Hemp who thought she had put the Blues ahead when her header was dropped by Van Veenedaal before the ball rolled just wide of the target.

Arsenal then came forward once again with Miedema leading the charge before she pulled the ball back for Viktoria Schnaderbeck to try her luck, but the ball was sent narrowly over the crossbar.

On the stroke of half-time it was Austrian international Schnaderbeck once again who went close, as the ball feel kindly to her feet following a low cross but Roebuck was on hand to make a superb reaction save from point blank range.

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City started the second half on top, creating the first opening on 47 minutes with substitute Stanway going close as she met a corner from Hemp but her header was well kept out by Van Veenedaal.

And City threatened again 10 minutes later when Pauline Bremer saw her header at the back post kept out by Dutch international van Veenendaal before Houghton thumped her effort over the top.

As the tempo of the game fizzed out it wasn’t until the 74th minute until there was another real talking point when Tessa Wullaert linked up with Hemp, playing a quick one-two before curling her strike wide.

With 10 minutes remaining Montemurro made a change, bringing Emma Mitchell on for Katie McCabe in what would later turn out to be a stroke of genius.

But City were just moments away from an incredible invincible season, despite not winning the title, when Kiera Walsh tried her luck from distance but the ball swiveled wide of the upright.

However, with just one minute left on the clock, Arsenal struck a last-gasp winner through Mitchell as she fired an unstoppable effort beyond the reach of Roebuck.

Houghton was forced into making a quick clearance before the ball fell to the feet of the Scotland international who thumped a thunderbolt into the top corner of the net from range to end City’s hopes of staying undefeated.

As Little and Jordan Nobbs held the trophy aloft after the final whistle, it made those title celebrations all the little more sweeter.

The Gunners ended 2018/19 with 18 wins out of a possible 20, accumulating 54 points and scoring 70 goals on their way to title glory.

Mead said: ”It is an amazing feeling. I have been lucky to lift the WSL 2 title but to win the Super League is a bit more special.

“The league was already won, so I guess people stayed in second gear but I thought we played very well and could have scored a lot more goals but we got what we deserved in the end.

“Mitch scored an absolute worldie. We wanted to win this game. We wanted to prove we are the best in the league and we did that. We won the league by seven points rather than just four.”

Arsenal: Van Veenedaal, Williamson, van de Donk, Little, Miedema, McCabe, Quinn, Evans, Bloodworth, Schnaderbeck, Mead. Subs used: Carter, Mitchell, Arnth.


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