Arsenal 3-1 Man Utd: Player ratings as Gunners thrash Red Devils to boost title dreams

  • Arsenal thrashed United to move three points behind league leaders Chelsea and City.
  • Geyse own-goal opened the scoring before Cloe Lacasse and Kim Little added the gloss.
  • United have only earned one point out of a possible 12 in games against the top four.

Cloe Lacasse netted Arsenal's second goal in their 3-1 win over Manchester United
Cloe Lacasse netted Arsenal's second goal in their 3-1 win over Manchester United / Paul Harding/GettyImages

FROM EMIRATES STADIUM - Arsenal thrashed Manchester United in a comprehensive 3-1 victory to move three points behind WSL leaders Chelsea and Manchester City, destroying any remaining hopes United had of finishing in the top three.

The stage was set; it was the first time that Arsenal had sold out the Emirates in the WSL and whilst this meeting at the N5 stadium last season ended in victory for the Red Devils, it was all Arsenal this time.

Marc Skinner made two changes to his side that defeated Southampton in the FA Cup last week, whereas Arsenal made six alterations to their XI after suffering a 1-0 loss to Manchester City.

United winger Geyse had little joy in the game as the Brazilian struggled immensely, inadvertently giving away an own-goal to open the scoring for the hosts.

Cloe Lacasse, being awarded with a league start after a significant period on the bench proved just how clinical she could be, using her tenacity to rule the left flank and secured Arsenal's second goal with some quick reaction after Katie Zelem's clearance was straight at her head.

Skipper Kim Little then converted from the spot to give Arsenal a 3-0 lead by at half-time after the hosts were rightfully awarded a penalty.

Lucia Garcia managed to claw back a consolation goal for United in the fifth minute of stoppage time but the damage was already long done.

After City's 1-0 win over Chelsea on Friday evening, Arsenal now sit on 31 points, three points behind the duo (34). United the top three by seven points (24) with this defeat, only secured one out of a possible 12 points against their three main rivals so far this season.

How the game unfolded

It was a scrappy opening few minutes with the hosts looking rocky in defence. Former Gunner Nikita Parris should have given her side an early lead and poked home after Sabrina D'Angelo, retaining her starting spot, failed to claim the corner, but Parris skewed wide.

After that, it was all Arsenal. The hosts swiftly gained comfort and began pulling the strings. A few minutes later, the deadlock was broken.10 minute in, a United own-goal gifted the hosts the lead. Katie McCabe's looping corner found Lacasse but the final touch ricocheted off Geyse into the net.

The Brazilian had been struggling, although Arsenal summer signing Laia Codina also appeared far from comfortable.

Arsenal then added insult to injury. Victoria Pelova capitalised on a nifty run to play in Stina Blackstenius, making only her third league start. As Zelem attempted to clear the Swede's touch, she inadvertently played directly to Lacasse and it was too easy for Canadian winger to head home.

Struggling heavily against Beth Mead, stand-in United left-back Gemma Evans brought the England forward down in the box, earning the hosts a penalty and leaving the left-back in a dangerous position after already being booked. Unsurprisingly, she was subbed at half-time.

Stepping up to the spot, captain Little converted expertly past a desperately diving Mary Earps.

By half-time, United had not had a shot on target with the hosts comfortably three goals ahead.

United were looking slightly more collected in the second half but once again, Arsenal were pulling the strings. Blackstenius forced a massive save from Earps before Mead rattled the far post, centimeters short of a fourth goal.

United had their first shot on target 71 minutes into the afternoon encapsulating the trying and underwhelming performance the visitors displayed. However, the Red Devils were able to claw back a consolation goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time as Garcia poked home an error from D'Angelo.

Arsenal player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Kim Little
Kim Little scored Arsenal's third / Paul Harding/GettyImages

GK: Sabrina D'Angelo - 8/10 - Anticipated well and made vital clearances when required although she was not called into action much throughout the afternoon. At fault for the thrid goal.

RB: Katie McCabe - 7/10 - Played a far more defensive role as Arsenal attacked mainly down the left but was crucial in keeping the Gunners together.

CB: Laia Codina - 6/10 - Struggled with the early pace of the game after making some dodgy clearances but grew into fixture well.

CB: Lotte Wubben-Moy - 7/10 - Stepped forward to give Arsenal's midfield added support and was stalwart at the back.

LB: Steph Catley - 7/10 - Was a messy performance from the left-back but contained United's threats well before going off with a head injury.

CM: Lia Walti - 8/10 - Criminally underrated but her performance was pivotal in keeping Arsenal ahead.

CM: Victoria Pelova - 7/10 - Did well to keep United's midfield under control. Subbed at half-time after making an impressive run to set up the third goal.

RW: Beth Mead - 8/10 - Rattled the woodwork but provided an expert attacking option that kept United on their toes.

CAM: Kim Little (c) - 8/10 - Arsenal are so much better with Little on the pitch. Dictated tempo and control of the engine room.

LW: Cloe Lacasse - 9/10 - Tenacious on the wing and overran United's defence. Adding Arsenal's seconfd goal and was relentless in her press.

ST: Stina Blackstenius - 8/10 - Drove incredibly well into the box but was unable to convert her chances. Nevertheless it was an inspired performance from the Swede who had been dropped to the bench in favour of Alessia Russo.


SUB: Kyra Cooney-Cross (46' for Pelova) - 7/10.

SUB: Alessia Russo (66' for Blackstenius) - 6/10.

SUB: Frida Maanum (74' for Mead) - 6/10.

SUB: Vivianne Miedema (74' for Little) - 7/10.

SUB: Caitlin Foord (82 ' for Catley) - N/A.

Unused subs: Zinsberger (GK), Bouhaddi (GK), Reid, V. Lia.


Jonas Eidevall: 8/10 - Made changes to his XI after being criticised for not switching things up. Faced a threadbare defence but ultimately set up perfectly to quash all of United's limp threats.

Man Utd player ratings (4-2-3-1)

Geyse, Steph Catley
Geyse struggled to make an impact / Paul Harding/GettyImages

GK: Mary Earps - 6/10 - Has conceded three goals against all of her top four rivals however, none of the goals today were her fault. Massively let down by a lagging defence.

RB: Hannah Blundell - 5/10 - Struggled against Lacasse's physicality and tenacity on the wing.

CB: Maya Le Tissier - 6/10 - Pace was key in tracking back to defend but struggled to maintain cohesion when it began to fall apart.

CB: Millie Turner - 7/10 - Made several massive blocks to deny Arsenal's getting even more ahead

LB: Gemma Evans - 4/10 - Subbed at half-time after being overrun by Mead. Pretty lucky to still be on the pitch after conceding the penalty when already on a yellow card.

CM: Katie Zelem (c) - 5/10 - Did not have a good game and was unable to rally her side.

CM: Lisa Naalsund - 6/10 - Took her a while to get on the ball and struggled to make much impact when she did.

RW: Geyse - 5/10 - Unable to connect with chances to convert them.

AM: Ella Toone - 6/10 - Blended into the middle far too easily, unable to connect passes to generate clinical attacks.

LW: Lucia Garcia - 7/10 - Probably had the best game of the entire United side but was still unable to convert chances until a late consolation.

ST: Nikita Parris - 5/10 - United's clearest attacking threat but failed to make anything come of it. Disappointing from the former Gunner who has been in fine form.


SUB: Leah Galton (46 ' for Evans) - 7/10.

SUB: Rachel Williams (61' for Geyse) - 7/10.

SUB: Hayley Ladd (68' for Naalsund) - 5/10.

SUB: Melvine Malard (76 ' for Parris) - 5/10.

Unused subs: Tullis-Joyce (GK), Mannion, Aherne, Galton, Irene G.


Marc Skinner - 4/10 - Set up with a formation that allowed Arsenal too mich space on the flanks and was unable to tactically counter their impressive tenacity.

Player of the match: Cloe Lacasse (Arsenal)