Manchester United fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at Leigh Sports Village, failing to cut down the gap between themselves and the Gunners.
Hunting for their first league win since the beginning of October, Marc Skinner brought back some regular first-teamers following the Conti Cup win over Manchester City. Alessia Russo, Leah Galton and Ella Toone returned to the attack. Ona Batlle kept her place, following her late winner against the city rivals in midweek.
While United dominated possession in the first few minutes, it was Arsenal who hit the post in the earlier stages through their first attack of the game. Beth Mead had her shot clatter the post and while the ball did fall to Vivanne Miedema, the rebound was tackled by Hannah Blundell.
Mead also had her header saved by Mary Earps in a game which saw Arsenal grow in stature and take control of proceedings. Katie McCabe and Mead soon switched flanks, as Arsenal began to dominate and United began going deeper in their own half.
United began to get overrun in midfield, as an Arsenal goal looked to be coming. And it came early on in the second half, as Miedema rifled one into the bottom corner from outside the box. Earps had her positioning wrong, allowing the 25-year-old Dutchwoman to beat her easily.
Arsenal then began to press and stifle United, as they hunted for the decisive second. Aoife Mannion brought down McCabe in the box about six minutes from the first goal, allowing the 26-year-old to double the lead for the Gunners.
Katie Zelem had a good chance to pull one back for United, but her shot after being set up by Lucy Staniforth was parried easily. It was United’s best chance of the game, as they began to have more of the possession.
Miedema almost made it 3-0 in the 75th minute but her free-kick from the edge of the box hit the post. Arsenal ended the game comfortably, as they looked good value for all three points.