Manchester United brought the game to Arsenal in their home arena, with Alessia Russo coined the hero of the night. She gave the hosts the lead moments before the break., with a first-touch finish at the penalty spot. The ball came from Nikita Parris’s pull-back which dismantled the Arsenal defence.

The win gave United their first double over the North London side and a four-point cushion in the Women’s Super League standings. Arsenal stay third on equal points with Manchester City in fourth, while Chelsea trail United with two games in hand. No longer considered the underdogs against these top opponents, United played with the belief that a win was on the cards.

Marc Skinner's side played with gusto, determined to be first to the ball, working off one-touch proactive movements in complete contrast to their rusty performance against Brighton just days earlier.

Arsenal increased pressure on the hour mark with spells again in stoppage time but to no avail.

Talking points:

1. Aoife Mannion returns to duty

Before the game, Arsenal’s Jonas Eidevall taunted that Marc Skinner always picks the same 10 players in a starting line-up, and he wouldn’t be far wrong. Skinner's back line of Blundell, Turner, Le Tissier and Battle have been stalwarts. However, after International duty, Manion stepped in and offered United a lot of movement, strength and one incredible performance.

For her first start in the WSL, it was a stellar performance, one of the best on the field, you’d have no idea this was her comeback from two Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries whatsoever. She proved too much for Arsenal and what a player Skinner has back on the roster.

2. United are one step closer to lifting the WSL trophy

The title race heats up as three points put United four ahead of last year's champions Chelsea, who do have two games in hand over the Reds. Arsenal remain in third place on 28 points, equal with fourth place, and looming, Manchester City. Leaders United are now six points ahead of the Gunners who are slowly losing grasp of their WSL title dreams.

3. Garcia out, Parris in

Skinner continues to struggle to pin down a constant wide right forward as he chops and changes between Lucia Garcia and Nikita Parris. With her wealth of experience, tenacity and hunger to prove herself (especially in a World Cup year and recently being left out of Sarina Wiegman’s selection) the 29-year-old won the race into the starting XI against her former club and got the job done. Her thunderous speed led to the only goal of the game.

4. Did Arsenal's absentees give United the edge?

No team other than Chelsea and Manchester City have done the double over Arsenal in the Women’s Super League and now United have joined that list.

Leah Williamson gingerly came off in the 15th minute after a non-contact incident. Luckily she was able to walk off the pitch but every Lionesses fan had their heart in their mouth when she reacted instantaneously.

Kim Little, Caitlin Foord, Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema were also all missing for the London side. Adding salt to the wound, Katie McCabe was another huge miss for the Gunners with a suspension.

5. Alessia Russo nets her ninth

She scored the winner at the Emirates back in November and sealed the win again with her first half strike. Russo is back at the top of United’s scoring ranks and also sees her leapfrog into third top-scorer in the league four behind Rachel Daly for Aston Villa and Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw on 16.

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