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Women's Football News
Manchester City 0 Arsenal 4 (Nobbs 5, Carter 58, Yankey 68, Stoney 82)
Manchester City returned to action on Sunday with a disappointing 4-0 home defeat to Arsenal.
Goals from Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Rachel Yankey and Casey Stoney earned a convincing victory for the Gunners, who took the lead after just five minutes and never really looked like relinquishing it.
After almost a month without a competitive fixture, this encounter was always going to be a test of fitness and preparation but with the visitors in the same situation, a lack of match action could not be used as an excuse for City's display. Throughout the afternoon, the away side were sharper, more disciplined and more clinical as the hosts struggled to retain possession and ultimately, create chances.
After a slow start to the season, Arsenal have turned their campaign around, having notched five wins in all competitions since the mid-season break - including an FA Women's Cup final triumph - and they started the brighter at the Manchester Regional Arena.
Straight from the off, the Gunners fired a warning of their intentions and it was clear they did not make the trip up north for a point. They almost opened the scoring after just two minutes but Yankey's free kick flew over the bar.
The away side did not have long to wait to break the deadlock though, as Nobbs gave the North London outfit the lead with a stunning long range lob which sailed over Bardsley and into the back of the net. It was a shock to the system for the hosts and a test of their character of how they would react to falling behind against the country's most successful women's football team.
Under the watchful eye of Club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, City did respond well but struggled to create any real chances. Issy Christiansen almost found an equaliser on 16 minutes but she was called offside on one occasion before seeing a long distance effort pushed wide by Emma Byrne three minutes later.
That was the closest the home side came to equalising in the first half. Arsenal on the other hand looked dangerous on the break, as Yankey fired wide before the hosts' defence did well to block a number of efforts in a goalmouth scramble.
Just a goal behind at the break, the home side were still very much in the game but needed to change their approach in the second period to stand any chance of clawing themselves back level. In a bid to turn the game in City's favour, Nick Cushing brought on Natasha Flint and Keira Walsh at half time to replace Krystle Johnston and Emma Kete.
As the home side began to build some pressure though, they were hit with a hammer blow as the visitors doubled their lead against the run of play, when Carter fired a shot past Bardsley and into the corner.
The task of finding two goals against a well organised Arsenal outfit looked a tall order and any hopes of a comeback were dashed ten minutes later, when Yankey swept in Turid Knaak's cross from close-range to make it 3-0, effectively sealing the contest.
Eager to restore some pride, the home side pressed forward in search of a consolation. Steph Houghton and Emma Lipman both saw efforts well saved but again, City struggled to string passes together and break down the Gunners' back four, which also caught the hosts offside on a number of occasions.
Arsenal added a fourth through Casey Stoney with eight minutes to go to secure a thumping win for the away side, who narrow the gap between themselves and Cushing's side to a single point.
Manchester City: Karen Bardsley, Abbie McManus, Emma Lipman, Betsy Hassett, Kathleen Radtke, Steph Houghton, Krystle Johnston (sub Keira Walsh 45mins), Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Emma Kete (sub Natasha Flint 45mins), Issy Christiansen.
Arsenal: Emma Byrne, Alex Scott, Leah Williamson, Jade Bailey, Casey Stoney, Niamh Fahey, Turid Knaak (sub Freda Ayisi 86mins), Jordan Nobbs, Danielle Carter, Emma Mitchell, Rachel Yankey.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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