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Arsenal 2-3 Manchester United: Russo seals comeback with stoppage time winner at Emirates

What a finish...

Arsenal v Manchester United - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

Manchester United picked up a massive 3-2 win over Arsenal at the Emirates in a memorable five-goal thriller. Marc Skinner’s side were trailing going into the final ten minutes after a bit of a sloppy second half, but they kept belief and got a huge result.

With Arsenal going into the game unbeaten in the league, and United coming into the game at the back of a loss to Chelsea, the game was a crucial one for both sides at the top of the table.For United, Ona Batlle’s return was crucial. Katie Zelem and Hayley Ladd started in midfield, with a front four of Nikita Parris, Ella Toone, Leah Galton and Alessia Russo starting together.

United had a good chance to take an early lead in the seventh minute, as Russo’s excellent turn allowed Toone to run in behind and latch onto the loose ball. Toone’s ball for Galton was slightly astray but the United winger’s shot was on target, but it was saved by the Arsenal goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger.

United had a decent chance to make it 1-0 five minutes later too. Zelem had put a floating corner into the box and the in-form summer signing Le Tissier managed to get her head onto it, but the shot went just above the post.

A rather dull game came alive thanks to a Zinsberger error in the 39th minute. Russo picked out Hayley Ladd’s rare run in the final third on the right and the cross by Ladd could’ve been easily cleared by Zinsberger. But Toone was waiting at the far post after Zinsberger completely missed the ball and the English star tapped home into an empty net.

Despite United’s pressure and impressive performance in the first half, Arsenal drew level through Frida Maanum early on in the second half and that changed the momentum of the tie.

Arsenal had a golden chance to complete a comeback in the 51st minute. Toone’s pass in a very deep area was picked off and while it was set up nicely for Stina Blackstenius, she skied her shot over Mary Earps’ goal.

United got nervous as the game went on, with Arsenal using slick movement to drag the Reds all over the place and creating spaces for themselves. Skinner’s side had carried over no momentum from the first half and had almost faded away.

Arsenal’s pressure paid off in the 71st minute, and the result was a terrific goal. A brilliant cross from the left by Katie McCabe fell perfectly for Wienroither at the back post, who finished brilliantly into the far corner to hand Arsenal the lead.

United’s control over the game had vanished, with Arsenal keeping more possession and dominating.

But despite a largely poor spell, the Reds drew level from a set piece. Zelem’s pin-point free kick met Millie Turner, whose bullet header slammed the woodwork and went in.

United did threaten to grow in prominence, but could never exert their full control on possession and left spaces between their lines while attacking.

The 90th minute saw Lucia Garcia get a huge chance to make it 3-2 from a Martha Thomas cross, but the Spaniard’s shot was saved by Zinsberger, who made another save off Thomas only seconds later. United were feeling the momentum, and the play reflected that in the final minutes

A minute later though, United did get the winner and Zelem’s excellent set piece ability came into play once again. She took a great corner, setting up Russo’s header that went into the bottom corner.

Seven minutes of added time meant that Arsenal did have time to potentially threaten, but United won the thrilling contest and handed the Gunners their first defeat of the season in the WSL.

As a result, United are back level on points with Arsenal at the top of the table, in what is shaping up to be a really exciting campaign.