Champions Arsenal victorious over Manchester City on the final day of the WSL season


An evenly-contested match between Arsenal and Manchester City ended with a dramatic Emma Mitchell winner on the final day of the Women’s Super League season to end City’s hopes of going the season unbeaten.

With the league title already won, WSL champions Arsenal were given a guard of honour by runners-up Man City as they walked onto the field before the game got underway.

Dutch duo Sari van Veenendaal and Dominique Bloodworth played their last games for Arsenal after it was announced yesterday that they would be leaving. Bloodworth’s final appearance was her 100th for the club.

Two of Arsenal’s four defeats this season have come at the hands of Manchester City and the Gunners started the game determined to get a positive result. Beth Mead, top of the assist charts (12), had an early chance but hit the side netting after latching onto Leah Williamson’s through ball. The two combined again minutes later when Mead found Williamson from a corner but her header just went over the bar.

City, who made five changes from their FA Cup final win against West Ham, went close through Kiera Walsh who had a shot deflected behind for a corner.

With 23 minutes played, Vivianne Miedema and Kim Little combined on the edge of the area, but the Scotland international’s strike was no trouble for City keeper Ellie Roebuck who made a great save.

Lauren Hemp’s looping header caught Arsenal keeper van Veenendaal off-guard and she spilled the effort which bounced off the post before recovering. Miedema, the league’s top scorer, was alert after a mistake from City but her shot was a comfortable save for Roebuck.

Arsenal were creating the clearer chances without being able to convert them. Roebuck was in fine form in City’s goal and denied Katie McCabe from scoring the opener after getting down low to make the crucial save. Despite the often open nature of the game, the first half failed to produce any goals.

City made a triple substitution as the second half got underway. Pauline Bremer, Georgia Stanway and Megan Campbell came on in place of Demi Stokes, Jill Scott and Caroline Weir.

After so much action in the first 45 minutes, the intensity dropped as both sides seemed to be settling for a draw. City substitute Bremer looked to make an impact with a headed effort at goal but a fine save from van Veenendaal kept her out. Little had a few shots on goal but the attacking impetus seemed to have disappeared from Arsenal’s play.

Danielle Carter was brought on for Viktoria Schnaderbeck as the Gunners looked for a goal. Arsenal’s second substitution was Emma Mitchell for McCabe. With six minutes remaining, Bloodworth came off to a huge standing ovation from the fans in her final game before joining Wolfsburg. Janni Arnth replaced her.

Mitchell’s proved to be the difference when, with just two minutes of normal time remaining, she scored a left-footed screamer to send the Arsenal fans wild and allow them to end the season with a much-deserved win.

In the end, a draw would have been a fair result but Arsenal had other ideas and wanted to see their season out in style. It was also a fitting end to van Veenandaal’s time at Arsenal that she kept a clean sheet and made some brilliant saves. With a late winner, Arsenal showed why they have had the edge of Man City this season and became the first and only team to beat them in the league this season.

Arsenal XI: van Veenendaal, Evans, Williamson, Quinn, Schnaderbeck (Carter 67) Bloodworth (Arnth 84), McCabe (Mitchell 80), Little, van de Donk, Mead, Miedema

Substitutes: Peryraud-Magnin, Mitchell, Arnth, Carter, Kuyken, Harper

Man City XI: Roebuck, Stokes (Campbell 45), Bonner, Houghton, Morgan, Scott (Stanway 45), Walsh, Weir (Bremer 45), Beckie, Hemp, Wullaert

Substitutes: Bardsley, Bremer, Stanway, Parris, Campbell, Emslie, McManus

Attendance: 2,200


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