An intensely-fought battle with Leicester City saw our Gunners secure an all-important 1-0 victory at Meadow Park on Friday evening.
A dramatic opening to the first half saw a penalty given in our favour with just five minutes played when Frida Maanum played a short corner to Katie McCabe who was brought down inside the box by Leicester’s Hannah Cain. McCabe stepped up to the spot, hoping to tuck the ball into the bottom left corner but sent Leicester keeper, Janina Leitzig, the same way to deny us an early lead.
A chance was created at the 16 minute mark for Stina Blackstenius when she cut inside the box from the left but her efforts were cut short by a well-timed block from Ruby Mace.
Victoria Pelova also created a brilliant opportunity to convert when she sent a square ball in from the right which evaded Stina Blackstenius but fell for Kathrine Kuhl who clipped a shot wide from 10 yards out.
A Frida Maanum corner eventually found Jen Beattie at the back post but her header was dealt with comfortably by Leicester goalkeeper Janina Leitzig.
We headed into the break goalless on both sides and the second half kicked off as the sun set on Meadow Park.
A 57th-minute substitution saw Jodie Taylor come off the bench for Blackstenius and soon found herself chasing down the ball on the left hand side, pulling it back to Maanum who curled the ball spectacularly into the top corner, completely beating Leitzig.
With full time just around the corner, our Gunners confidently dictated play. Lia Walti found herself accidentally caught in the face at the 80 minute mark, resulting in a free kick being awarded on the edge of the box. Frida Maanum came so close to claiming a brace when she stepped up to take the free kick but her curled attempt found itself ricocheting off of the woodwork.
The fourth official called for 10 minutes of added time, so we buckled down and defended relentlessly to secure a 1-0 victory, taking home the all-important three points.
WHAT IT MEANS
The result sees us remain in fourth place, pushing to within two points of Chelsea.
We’re back on the road in our next fixture away to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday May 10, 2023.
Kick off is at 7:30pm (UK)
Arsenal starting XI: D'Angelo, Wubben-Moy, Beattie (Catley, 57 > Gio, 74), Rafaelle, Maritz, Walti, Maanum, Pelova, McCabe, Kuhl (Agyemang, 90+10), Blackstenius (Taylor, 57)
Subs not used: Zinsberger, Marckese, Goldie, Reid
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