Arsenal ladies win Continental Cup for fifth time

Leah Williamson of Arsenal Ladies celebrates her goal with Rachel Yankey during a match last year. The team beat Manchester City to win the Continental Cup for the fifth time. Credit: joshjdss (CC BY 2.0)

Arsenal sealed their fifth WSL Continental Cup victory in seven years as Vivianne Miedema’s first-half finish secured a 1-0 victory against an otherwise indomitable Manchester City side.

For nine of the City side returning from England duty in the United States, it was the second time they had been on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline in a week after England lost to the host nation in the final of the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Florida.

The fatigue of Nick Cushing’s City team was apparent at Adams Park stadium throughout the match with Arsenal compensating for their poor WSL season to win Joe Montemurro his first trophy at the club.

The two sides had claimed the WSL Cup in every year of its existence but with City chasing a quadruple and becoming increasingly dominant within the sport, Arsenal were the old hats hoping to roll back the years against the young pretenders.

Arsenal came close to an opener in the 13th minute when a 30-yard strike from Dominique Janssen smashed into the City crossbar. But it was a clever move which separated the two sides when after 33 minutes England international Jordan Nobbs cut a ball through Man City’s defence to Janssen on the wing. Her cross was met at post by Miedema who calmly slotted the ball through the legs of City goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck.

The 2,000-strong crowd didn’t see Arsenal put under much pressure until the second half when the replacement of City’s Nadia Nadim for Jane Ross galvanised the team.

However, this was to no avail as Arsenal weathered City’s attacks throughout the second half, the biggest moment of danger coming in the closing minutes when Arsenal’s Lisa Evans cleared forward Nikita Parris’s header off the line.

“It had a lot of emotion, ups and downs,” Montemurro said. “I thought the first half we were in control, we played well. In the second half, we had to defend. But in finals there are lots of emotions and the team who deals with them best wins.”

Arsenal have a chance at more silverware as they now prepare for a home quarter-final against Charlton in the SSE Women’s FA Cup this weekend.