Manchester United 0 Arsenal 2
Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner said they will close the gap to title-chasing Arsenal and Chelsea through investment in the long-term, after his team were beaten 2-0 at home by Arsenal to slip 10 points adrift of the Women’s Super League leaders.
Skinner, who was appointed in July and has overseen three wins, three draws and two defeats in his eight WSL matches so far is “not concerned” by their home losses against Arsenal and Chelsea. Manchester United took four points from their home games against those two sides last term, but Skinner is “realistic” about their expectations.
Asked about the gap to unbeaten Arsenal, Skinner said: "There was a gap in moments, but we’ve been in the game long enough to know that comes from continued investment and time. We need to invest in the players and we'll continue to invest, and the club have no bones about that. We want to keep pushing women's football and our team, so I'm not concerned, I just understand where we're at.
"Expectations are super high - I won't diminish those expectations - but we have to be realistic. I was never going to come in and wave a magic wand. We lost a lot of forwards in the summer. We know the direction we're heading in. Our players will need those reinforcements if we've got tough games like this. I'm not overly concerned but we will keep investing."
For Arsenal though, their transformation continued with another strong performance as they claimed a seventh win from their eight WSL games so far under Jonas Eidevall thanks to Vivianne Miedema’s classy low finish from outside the box and Katie McCabe’s well-taken penalty.
The north Londoners also hit the bar twice, through Beth Mead's fierce strike and Miedema's clipped free-kick, as they stayed a point clear of Chelsea. Emma Hayes' team were 5-0 winners over struggling Birmingham, thanks to a first-half hat-trick from Sam Kerr and a brace from Fran Kirby, who reached 100 goals for Chelsea.
The game had come three days after Birmingham sacked head coach Scott Booth, who had been in charge for just four-and-a-half months. Birmingham remain one point above the relegation zone, and shortly after full-time, they confirmed the appointment of their former men's team midfielder Darren Carter as interim head coach.
Most recently part of West Brom Women's coaching staff, Carter is best-known at Birmingham for scoring the penalty that sent them to the Premier League in 2002, when aged 18. He will be joined by assistant head coach Tony Elliott, goalkeeping Daniel Matraszek and will be "supported" by Marcus Bignot, who is a former Birmingham manager and was interim head coach at Aston Villa for the second part of last season.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps; Batlle, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Blundell; Zelem (Boe Risa, 87), Staniforth; Hanson (Jones, 77), Toone, Galton; Russo
Subs not used: Baggaley (gk), Ladd, Fuso, Smith, Turner
Yellow cards: Blundell
Arsenal (4-3-3): Zinsberger; Maritz, Beattie, Wubben-Moy, Catley; Maanum, Walti, Little (Nobbs, 45); Mead, Miedema (Foord, 86), McCabe (Parris, 77)
Subs not used: Patten, Williams (gk), Stenson (gk), Goldie, Houssein
Yellow cards: McCabe
Referee: Emily Heaslip (Bury St Edmunds)