By Lloyd Webb
Arsenal suffered their first loss of the season, courtesy of a 2-0 defeat against title rivals Manchester City. In a goalless first half, Jemma Rose received a red card for a trip, despite former Gunner Steph Houghton escaping the same punishment for a similar offence. Arsenal remained competitive, but Jane Ross’ header and Toni Duggan’s penalty consigned the visitors to defeat.
Setting the scene
Pedro Martinez Losa made three changes to his side following their opening day victory against Reading five days ago. Fara Williams and Danielle van de Donk were handed their first starts, replacing Marta Corredera and Dominique Janssen. Last year’s player of the season Casey Stoney was named in central defence, while Leah Williamson dropped to the bench.
There was drama right from the get-go, when Arsenal appealed for Houghton’s sending off after she tripped Asisat Oshoala, before Williams crashed the following free-kick against the bar. With plenty of challenges flying in, it only seemed like a matter of time before someone received their marching orders. Ross raced through on goal in the 15th minute, and with no one else back covering, Rose received a straight red for a trip. The Gunners responded in the right way however, remaining compact defensively and hitting the hosts on the counter. Those tactics almost paid off, but Oshoala took too long to pull the trigger when she raced towards goal. Buoyed by their player advantage, Man City were in the ascendency up until half-time, with efforts from Lucy Bronze and Duggan keeping Sari van Veenendaal on her toes.
The hosts maintained the pressure after the break, and were almost rewarded for it when a sensational save from Van Veenendaal denied Nikita Parris. Following that early scare, off-target efforts from Van de Donk and Jordan Nobbs were the product of an encouraging spell of possession for Losa’s side. Ross continued to trouble Arsenal’s defence and, against the run of play, headed home Duggan’s teasing cross to put the hosts in front. While Van Veenendaal produced a fine save to deny Asllani Kossovare from close range moments earlier, there was nothing she could do about Duggan’s penalty 10 minutes from the end.
Referee: Michael Salisbury
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