Manchester City Women 2 Arsenal Women 1
This was probably a more terrifying send-off than outgoing Manchester City head coach Nick Cushing had envisaged – seven added minutes, five yellow cards in 23 minutes and an Arsenal side who deserve to feel aggrieved that they never drew level – but in the end he was able to bow out of game 193 with a win.
Has it sunk in that it is all over as he heads to the United States to take charge of New York City? “It almost breaks my heart a little bit,” he said, “because it’s been so good. Even in 10 years, if I had won 10 titles, it was always going to be this way. You invest so much time in building relationships and on winning that you create a bit of a monster and then you have to walk away from it. These last five games have felt like I’ve split up with my girlfriend but I’m still living in the same house as her.”
Goals from Pauline Bremer and Lauren Hemp were enough, even barring a Danielle van de Donk goal just before the hour, to keep Cushing’s win percentage at 75 and keep City top of the table. They are a point ahead of Chelsea and three ahead of Arsenal.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIn a post-match speech on the pitch reminiscent of Sir Alex Ferguson’s, Cushing, flanked by a television screen playing a highlights package of his time at City, joked that “now we’ve beaten Arsenal I want to stay again”, before warning his players: “We’re in the driving seat to win the league. You’d better keep on winning.”
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appBoth City and Arsenal will know that the power actually lies with Chelsea, a point behind in second but with a game in hand, and for context Emma Hayes’ side were 3-0 up against West Ham by the time City manufactured a breakthrough here. Bremer turned in her 10th league goal in as many games at the near post after Caroline Weir’s cross cannoned off the knee of Gemma Bonner.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appIt was a scuffed finish, symptomatic of a jerky first half. Arsenal’s press put City under early pressure, Jordan Nobbs scurrying a low shot wide, and had it not been for the steel of Leah Williamson, Van de Donk and Viktoria Schnaderbeck, the outcomes all would have been different for Bremer, Demi Stokes and Ellen White when they had the ball inside the area.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appCity’s second arrived four minutes after the break, Hemp heading in Keira Walsh’s delivery. The full-throttle contest got so fiery that at one point Hemp had to be restrained by Steph Houghton following a Katie McCabe yellow card. Ellie Roebuck denied Beth Mead from close range but Van de Donk was able to convert the follow-up to trigger a furious second period.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appRoebuck then somehow kept out Van de Donk again from point-blank range on 70 minutes.
2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app“You become comfortable being uncomfortable,” Cushing said. “Every big game has been like that since I’ve been here. I know the desire and the drive that this team has and I was pretty comfortable that we’d get over the line. You just never know because Arsenal are such a top team.”
Joe Montemurro, the Arsenal head coach, said: “We had a lot of the ball and in the final third we could have done better. [The goals] weren’t even creative – they were half-chances which we let ourselves down with. We need to make sure that doesn’t happen again. In terms of football, fantastic – but we didn’t get the desired result.”
Manchester City: Roebuck; Stanway, Houghton, Bonner, Stokes; Walsh, Weir; Scott, Hemp; White, Bremer (Wullaert 62).
Substitutes not used: Coombs, Toland, Park, Bissell, Benameur (g), Fidalgo.
Arsenal: Zinsberger; Maier, Williamson, Schnaderbeck, McCabe; Roord, Nobbs, Van de Donk; Evans, Miedema, Mead.
Substitutes not used: Beattie, Quinn, Peyraud-Magnin (g), Grant, Filis, Mace.
Bookings: McCabe, Roord, van de Donk, Mead, Van de Donk.
Referee: Stacey Pearson.