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Manchester City vs Arsenal Women at Academy Stadium

Academy Stadium Referee : Abigail Byrne
23rd January 2022 6:45 PM (GMT)
  • 1 Manchester City

    • ‘65' Khadija Shaw
  • 1 Arsenal Women

    • ‘90'+2' Tobin Heath


Commentary By George Kelsey


That's all folks 👋

A frustrating evening for City, who are forced to settle for a point in a pulsating FA WSL clash.

Despite the disappointment of Tobin Heath's late strike, it was another convincing performance from Gareth Taylor's side and, on another day, we'd perhaps be celebrating a big three points.

Nonetheless, our unbeaten run now stretches to seven matches in all competitions.

Thanks for your company this evening, and make sure to check out all the stats and reaction from tonight's clash below and on and the official Man City app.


Taylor (on Losada substitution) 💬

"It was a change - we needed a bit more energy onto the pitch,.

"Caroline is recovering well, and we were trying to win the game. We made the change, it made a difference and we got the goal."


Taylor (on youngsters Park and Keating) 💬

(On Park): "She showed real maturity, she too the ball and the challenge, made it difficult. 

"She showed some bits of quality as well good deliveries into the box. She had a couple of opportunities but if you look at the age and playing in an unfamiliar position, she’s taken on the challenge and rightly deserved to be player of the game."

(On Keating): "She's done really well, very calm in everything she does: safe handling, good build-up and the two young players were playing with a maturity and composure. We’re really pleased with what she’s doing so far.

"I never like to call 'second or first' choice. We've had issues as well in other areas but definitely in the goalkeeper dept. 

"Karima at times has done really well so at the end of the day Karima wasn’t available. We had Grace  [Pilling] with us so it is what it is. 

"We make the best of the situation. It's a fantastic experience for two young goalkeepers to be involved in the game tonight."


Gareth Taylor on pride in performance 💬

"Yeah we’ve improved for a long time now, we keep stringing performances together.

"The play was full of heart and we saw a team going for it, even at 1-1 we tried our best to get the winner, really proud of team and ways we performed."


Taylor (on improvement) 💬

"We’ve improved for a long time now, we keep stringing performances together. 

"The play was full of heart and we saw a team going for it, even at 1-1 we tried our best to get the winner.

"Really proud of team and ways we performed."


Gareth Taylor on Arsenal protests for City goal 💬

"You’d like to think it evens itself out, if that’s the case I thought the build-up was good.

"Lucy hit a pass which deflected off someone, I'd have to see it again but the quality from Hemp to Shaw was a great goal.

"We’ve been on the wrong end of decision this season so it’s nice if that’s the case that one went our way."


Taylor (on goal controversy) 💬

"You’d like to think it evens itself out, if that’s the case I thought the build-up was good. Lucy hit a pass which deflected off someone, I'd have to see it again but the quality from Hemp to Shaw was a great goal. 

"We’ve been on the wrong end of decision this season so it’s nice if that’s the case that one went our way."


Gareth Taylor 💬

"Of course, really disappointed for the girls. We worked so hard in the game and had opportunities after going ahead. 

"We should have had a pen that wasn’t given so gutted and disappointed. 

"We deserved a win with the heart and quality we showed but this is football."


Jess Park on Lucy Bronze linkup 🗣

"Me and Lucy work well together, working off each others’ runs.

"It’s really good to have a right-back that pushes up a lot.

"I can get on the ball, play her through and make my movement off that."


Jess Park on reaction to result 🗣

"We performed really well. We need to take that into the next games. 

"We can’t dwell on the result - we have to keep pushing.

"This result will push us even more to keep going and win the next game."


Jess Park on performance 🗣

"We played really well. It was a disappointing result but I’m proud of the girls, the team.

"We stuck together and had an amazing performance regardless of the result."


A point gained

It's cruel on City, but the performance was a massive plus.

Gareth Taylor's side were a matter of minutes from claiming what would've been a huge three points.



It's cruel on City, who have definitely edged this second half.

The defence can't clear the ball properly with it eventually falling to Tobin Heath, who fires back across goal and into the net beyond Khiara Keating's despairing dive.


Stoppage time

Vivianne Miedema fizzes an effort towards goal, but the ball is caught in a crowd of bodies and goes behind for a corner.

Meanwhile, six minutes of time have been added on... much to the alarm of the City fans sat around me!


City booking

Arsenal with a free-kick just inside the City half.

Caroline Weir knocks the ball away to prevent them taking it quickly and is booked.


Caz goes close

Almost another spectacular Caroline Weir strike to add to the collection.

The midfielder pirouettes into space, cuts in on her right a fizzes a 25-yard effort towards goal.

Manuela Zinsberger gets down well to push the effort away from danger... what a goal that would've been!


Easing the pressure

A sustained period of Arsenal pressure is ended when Georgia Stanway is brought down by Tobin Heath.

City's no. 10 has run herself into the ground tonight.


Huge result?

Should City hold on, we'll be outside the WSL Champions League spots on goal difference alone.

We'll also only be three points behind tonight's opponents, who are currently top of the table...


Hemp goes close

Georgia Stanway races towards the Arsenal backline before threading the ball out left to Lauren Hemp.

The City winger takes a touch and fires towards goal, but Zinsberger gets a strong hand to the effort.


Arsenal penalty claim?

Arsenal want a penalty as Beth Mead goes down inside the box, but their protests fall on deaf ears.

The game's hotting up as the 70-minute mark approaches.


Bunny bags again

The goal was definitely coming, it was just a case of who would grab it!

Lauren Hemp skips away down the left and whips the ball into the path of Bunny Shaw, with the striker making no mistake from close-range!

Arsenal want a free-kick after the ball accidentally struck referee Abigail Byrne, providing City with possession in the build-up, but the visiting boss Jonas Eidevall is booked for his protests.


Just wide

Another sight of goal for Jess Park who steals in unmarked at the far post.

The ball is looped into her path, but her volley goes just wide of the post.

This game has come to life in the last five minutes!


End to end

So close to the breakthrough!

City go down the other end of the pitch with Jess Park sent clean through on goal, but her effort is blocked by Manuela Zinsberger.



Heart in mouth situation for City...

The ball is played in from the left and Alex Greenwood gets a foot to it.

Khiara Keating is down to collect, but the ball squirms out of her grasp for a split second as Vivianne Miedema looks to pounce.

Thankfully the City stopper recovers in the nick of time.


Arsenal effort

Another stop from Khiara Keating, this time thwarting Vivianne Miedema after the Arsenal forward worked the ball onto her right foot.

The keeper parries the initial effort before the smothering the ball at the second attempt.


Parris in the book

Nikita Parris stops a City counter, clipping the heels of Lauren Hemp.

That one goes down as a 'good' foul if you're of the Arsenal persuasion, but the former City forward is cautioned.


Great save

Khiara Keating pulls off another fine save to keep the scores level.

Beth Mead skips away from Lucy Bronze down the Arsenal left and looks to sneak an effort in at the near post, but the City stopper parries the effort away from danger.

Another solid stop from the youngster.


Early opportunities

Steph Houghton plays a brilliant ball in behind to Bunny Shaw, but the City striker is outmuscled by Rafaelle Souza.

The ball is recycled though and Vicky Losada tries her luck from distance, but drags the effort wide of the post.



A clash of heads between Lucy Bronze and Beth Mead.

The City full-back came off the better, with the Arsenal no.9 looking a little groggy.

Thankfully though she's up on her feet and okay to continue.


Second 45 approaching

Out come the players ahead of the second half.

No sign of any changes at the break for either side.

A big 45 minutes beckons...


Goalkeeper's union

Ellie Roebuck is being interviewed by PA announcer Ellen Ellard, and has heaped praise on young goalkeeper Khiara Keating.

"Khiara's brilliant, she's good to work with, a fearless kid so I had no doubts she'd be brilliant today," she said.

Asked who had the hardest shot in the squad, she also added: "I'd probably say Stanners (Georgia Stanway), she likes to shoot all the time!"


Safe hands 👐

Ellie Roebuck has made her way over to the touchline to meet fans and take some selfies.

The City stopper continues her recovery from injury but, as always, is here to cheer on her teammates.


Half-time tunes 🎶

Everyone's having a little dance and keeping warm to Meat Loaf's 'Bat out of Hell' at the break.

The famous singer of course passed away earlier this week at the age of 74.


All square

No goals, but plenty of desire from both sides.

Arsenal started the brighter with Khiara Keating saving well from Vivianne Miedema, but City probably edged the latter stages of the first half.

Plenty to ponder for both teams at the break.



City go for a short corner this time, with the ball eventually whipped into the back post.

Steph Houghton gets her head on it but Zinsberger is behind the effort to comfortably claim.



Great ball from Stanway to split the Arsenal defence, with Lucy Bronze's cross blocked behind for a corner.

City have gone close on a couple of occasions from set-pieces... could this be the one?


Heat of battle

Beth Mead ploughs into the back of Vicky Losada after the City midfielder releases the ball.

The Arsenal no.9 is apologetic straight away, and is only given a warning by the referee.

You can't knock the desire and determination of either side in this first half.



Bronze almost strikes gold!

Another brilliant ball into the box, this time from an Alex Greenwood free-kick, is met by the City full-back.

The header is off target, but certainly had Manuela Zinsberger worried for a second or two...


City chance

Lauren Hemp continues to be in the thick of the action.

The winger rises highest to meet a looping cross from Lucy Bronze, but her header is over the Arsenal bar.


Double booking

Lauren Hemp and Katie McCabe are both booked for an altercation after the City winger is fouled.

City's no.15 wasn't too pleased with the challenge and has a bit of a shove with McCabe but Abigail Byrne is on hand to prevent anything from escalating.


In the wars

Leah Williamson tries to thread a ball in behind to Nikita Parris, but it's got too much on it and trickles out for a goal kick.

Jess Park continues to be lively for the hosts and takes a knock as she looks to skip away from Noelle Maritz, thankfully she's okay to continue!


15 to play...

It's been an entertaining half despite the lack of goals, with both sides slowly getting the measure of each other.

Jess Park and Lauren Hemp have switched wings as half-time approaches, maybe hoping to keep the Arsenal defence on their toes.


Matter of inches

More great wing play from Jess Park, who zips a ball in at the near post.

Bunny Shaw stretches a leg out to try and poke home, but the cross is inches away from the City forward and Manuela Zinsberger claims.

More great work out wide from the hosts...


City chance

Swift counter from City almost brings the game's first goal!

Lauren Hemp races into space down the left after City clear an Arsenal free-kick, before pinging the ball out to Jess Park on the opposite flank.

The winger skips away into space past Beth Mead, but fires just over the bar from distance.


Penalty shout?

Lauren Hemp goes on one of her trademark runs into the box, but her progress is cut short by the rapidly retreating Noelle Maritz.

Abigail Byrne waves away the penalty claims. There was definitely contact but it looks like the Arsenal defender got the ball first.


Stanway in the book

A late challenge from Georgia Stanway sees her go into the book.

Referee Abigail Byrne didn't have much choice, with the midfielder clattering into Noelle Maritz as the defender cleared up field.


Getting closer!

Another half chance for City.

Jess Park loops a ball into the box, which is a little too high for Bunny Shaw, but perfect for the onrushing Lauren Hemp.

The winger beats Noelle Maritz to it, but Manuela Zinsberger is behind the effort.

City the better side in the past five minutes.


Hop to it

Vicky Losada races into space just outside the Arsenal box and threads a clever pass in behind.

Bunny Shaw is onto it in a flash, but Gunners centre-half Lotte Wubben-Moy does well to shepherd her away from the ball.


Great save 👏

Excellent reactions from Khiara Keating, who gets down well to her right to block an inventive volley from Vivianne Miedema.

The Arsenal forward had stolen a year at the far post and did well to guide her effort on target.

A fine save... that'll do the City stopper's confidence the world of good.


Early chance

A first sight of goal for the visitors as City fail to clear a lofted ball into the box.

Khiara Keating comes steaming off her line to claim, but a mix up with Alex Greenwood almost presents Beth Mead with a chance.

Greenwood recovers to block the forward's effort on goal though, and the ball eventually runs out for a corner.



Jess Park ventures forward down the right before cutting the ball back into Lucy Bronze.

The defender's pass is slightly miscued but before Arsenal can launch a meaningful counter, Vivianne Miedema is dispossessed by Steph Houghton.

Neither side able to get a proper foothold yet...


Early exchanges

Nikita Parris tries to run onto a lofted ball over the City defence and is incensed when she's flagged for offside.

You can tell that both sides are really up for this one, with a couple of big tackles already going in.


Here we go...

Both teams are out on the pitch with Gareth Taylor passing on some final words of wisdom.

The players break away from the huddle and get a rousing reception from the crowd as we line up ahead of kick-off.

A huge game ahead of us...


Familiar faces ❓

There are EIGHT players potentially facing their former clubs today...

City stars Steph Houghton, Vicky Losada, Caroline Weir, Ellen White and Ruby Mace all previously turned out for Arsenal and will hope we can come out on top today.

However, Gunners trio Fran Stenson, Jenn Beattie and Nikita Parris will be hoping for the opposite!

Parris remains City's leading scorer, with Georgia Stanway hot on her heels, and is sure to get a good reception from the home crowd today.


Fitting tribute

The players have made their way over to the crowd and given a round of applause in memory of Ian Taylor, who passed away last week.

Both sides will be wearing black armbands in tribute to Ian, who was a much loved member of the MCWFC Supporters Club family.

"There's only one Ian Taylor" is chanted by the fans, as Blue Moon is played across the tannoy.

A lovely tribute to someone who meant a great deal to a lot of people.


Gareth Taylor preview 🗣

The boss says it's business as usual for City tonight...

“It’s (just) another game for us. Some teams are in better form than others at the moment. We struggled earlier in the season for various reasons," he said ahead of the match.

"But the process for us remains the same. We take it one game at a time, we focus on this game on Sunday. And after that we look to the next one. 

“We expect a hard game, a tight game. We want to dominate as much as we can. We have to get the small details right.

“They had early success, scoring goals, high energy, and they have good attacking players like us.

“We’re looking forward to it. We are on our home patch again. It’s nice to be back at the CFA and now we want to get going on Sunday and that challenge in front of us.”


Stanway looking sharp 🎆

Assistant boss Alan Mahon has just given a massive clap in the direction of Georgia Stanway for a sharp pass in the keep-ball session in front of us.

The midfielder has been in sparkling form recently, scoring in each of her last four WSL appearances.

Only two players have scored in five successive games for City in the WSL, one being Toni Duggan and the other Nikita Parris, who lines up for the visitors today...


Limbering up 👏

The warm-ups are in full swing here at the Academy Stadium, City taking part in a high intensity keep-ball exercise in front of us in the press box.

Meanwhile Khiara Keating and Grace Pilling are sharpening up by claiming some crosses.

Arsenal are following suit with their own rondo as Jonas Eidevall watches on.

The excitement is well and truly building...


Stat attack 🔢

City have won our last four home WSL matches against Arsenal, scoring 11 goals across these victories.

Our last home loss against the Gunners was back in May 2017, a 1-0 defeat.

After scoring 11 goals in our first seven WSL matches this season, City have netted 17 in our last four matches, winning all four and conceding just twice across them.

Lauren Hemp has had the most ball carries with a chance created (12) in the WSL this season, as well as having the joint-most ball carries ending with a shot (also 12), although only of those has ended in a goal being scored.


Stanway at the double?

Georgia Stanway is just two goals away from breaking City's all-time scoring record.

She's grabbed six goals in her last six matches, and now stands just one behind Nikita Parris' record of 62 strikes.

What an evening to do it if Georgia can add to her tally tonight...


Three changes 📋

Gareth Taylor makes three changes from the side that secured a spot in the Continental Cup semi-finals in midweek.

Laura Coombs, Filippa Angeldahl and Janine Beckie make way for Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh and Jess Park.

Georgia Stanway moves into the midfield three alongside Vicky Losada, with Walsh sitting in front of the back four.

Park will slot in on the right flank hoping to supply the bullets for Bunny Shaw, who was on fire in Wednesday’s win over Bristol City, grabbing a brace on her first start this year!

As expected, that's a strong City side in my not so humble opinion...


Bronze: We're all excited to face Arsenal 🗣

City defender Lucy Bronze has spoken to ahead to tonight's clash...

“I think we’re all excited that we’re playing at home against Arsenal. We know that we play well at home with the style that we like to play.

“We’ve got a lot of players back fit and the team’s ticking well at the minute. Arsenal are probably struggling compared to the form they had the last time we played each other – they were flying and were the team to beat and were doing so well.

“Since then, they’ve edged through the Champions League but they struggled and then also lost to Birmingham but you can take all that out the equation.

"Ultimately, when both teams step on the pitch, it doesn’t matter about the last result and how much they beat us by or how many times we’ve beaten them before – it’s just about the two teams going head-to-head there in that moment.

“We’re quite confident and we know we just need to keep picking up three points and pulling ourselves up the league table slowly but Arsenal are going to be desperate to get points out of the game because they’ll want to keep that top spot.

“It’s a big game for both teams and hopefully, it’ll be a good game.”


Up for grabs...

There's no getting away from the fact that this could be a big game in City's season...

Chelsea's draw with Brighton earlier today means victory for Gareth Taylor's side would move us within goal difference of the WSL's Champions League places.

Emma Hayes' side have games in hand, but what an incentive (if there was any more needed) for us to try and grab all three points this evening!


Team news in 25 minutes 💙

Gareth Taylor said in his pre-match press conference that the City squad was in good shape, asserting there are no fresh injury concerns ahead of the tie.

City were boosted by the return of Caroline Weir in Wednesday’s 3-1 Continental Cup win over Bristol City, while Bunny Shaw also grabbed a brace on her first start since working her way back to full fitness.

The City boss also provided an update on the fitness of goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck, revealing she is nearing a return, but admitted a potential return for Karima Taieb against Arsenal remains in the balance.

Karen Bardsley (hamstring), Chloe Kelly (ACL) and Esme Morgan (leg fracture) remain long-term absentees, while Hayley Raso and Alanna Kennedy are away on international duty with Australia.


It's Matchday 🙌

Hello and welcome to today's Matchday Centre.

City are back in FA Women's Super League action tonight with a crunch clash against league leaders Arsenal.

It's an 18:45 kick-off at the Academy Stadium not one to be missed!

We'll have all of the pre-match build-up, live coverage and post-match reaction right here, so stay tuned.

As always, we'd also love for you to get in touch and share your thoughts on the game so feel free to tweet @ManCityWomen.

Come on, City!

Other games that day

  • Leicester City Women1
    Aston Villa Women2
  • Reading Women3
    Birmingham City Women2
  • West Ham United Women3
    Everton Women0
  • Brighton and Hove Albion Women0
    Chelsea Women0
  • Manchester United Women3
    Tottenham Hotspur Women0

As it stood

P GD Pts
1 Arsenal Women 11 +25 26
2 Manchester United 12 +14 24
3 Chelsea Women 10 +21 22
4 Tottenham Hotspur Women 12 +2 21
6 Reading Women 11 +1 19
7 West Ham United Women 11 +4 17
8 Brighton and Hove Albion Women 12 -4 16
9 Aston Villa Women 12 -18 13
10 Everton Women 11 -10 11
11 Leicester City Women 13 -19 6
12 Birmingham City Women 13 -26 4
Link To Full Table