Arse­nal snatch late win­ner as missed chances frus­trate Stoney

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Katie Why­att at Leigh Sports Vil­lage

Manch­ester United were un­for­tu­nate not to col­lect the first point of their Women’s Su­per League res­i­dence, against an Arse­nal side un­der­whelm­ing for the ma­jor­ity of the first half. But in the fi­nal 10 min­utes – so fre­netic that Vi­vianne Miedema headed wide, struck the post and had a shot cleared off the line – Arse­nal’s grad­ual as­cent into dom­i­nance showed when sub­sti­tute Danielle van de Donk, with a minute of nor­mal time re­main­ing, blasted home as the ball pin­balled around the box.

In added time, Kirsty Han­son lofted a free-kick on to the roof of Manuela Zins­berger’s net, and this is United’s chief short­com­ing.

That Casey Stoney’s side have spent about an hour of their open­ing two matches with the league’s resident Cham­pi­ons League rep­re­sen­ta­tives penned in their own third in­di­cates that they can dis­rupt the es­tab­lished or­der. But they have yet to score.

“It’s al­most a re­peat of not tak­ing our chances,” Stoney said. “The fact that we’re talk­ing about fine mar­gins after play­ing Arse­nal and Man City, when we started 14 months ago, is tes­ta­ment to my play­ers and staff. They de­served some­thing out of the game. We pushed them all the way. We’d be happy with a top­six fin­ish and I think that’s still our tar­get.”

For all their in­ven­tion, United were in­tense with­out look­ing dan­ger­ous. They mus­tered their first shot on tar­get 57 min­utes in, Jane Ross latch­ing on to Jess Sigsworth’s through ball only for Zins­berger to di­vert the dan­ger and Leonie Maier to scrape Ross’s fol­low-up off the line.

Arse­nal lacked their usual cut­ting edge un­til well into the sec­ond half but even­tu­ally put the game to bed.

Goal­keeper Mary Earps was United’s most valu­able player here. First, there was the dou­ble save to deny Miedema from close range.

Earps was alive again, swoop­ing into a car­bon copy of a dou­ble save from Kim Lit­tle’s fleet-footed trick­ery in­side the box. Lit­tle and Jor­dan Nobbs, mak­ing her first start since rup­tur­ing her an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in Novem­ber 2018, were Arse­nal’s bright­est in a game where Miedema, in a deeper role, was of­ten iso­lated.

“A lot of sides will find it very, very dif­fi­cult here – they’re a good side,” said Joe Mon­te­murro, the Arse­nal man­ager. “They had lots of num­bers in front of the goal – they had eight play­ers be­tween the penalty spot and the six-yard box at one stage. It was quite amaz­ing.”

Per­haps United would have come closer were Jackie Groe­nen and Lotta Okvist not miss­ing with a knock and con­cus­sion re­spec­tively, but it would be churl­ish to complain when Ella Toone headed wide after beat­ing Leah Wil­liamson and Sigsworth also missed a chance to score.

Manch­ester Utd

De­ci­sive: Danielle van de Donk (cen­tre) cel­e­brates her win­ning goal

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