Caroline Weir’s Humiliating Chip Dashes Man Utd’s Title Hopes
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Manchester United has arguably been the biggest surprise in women’s football this season. Casey Stoney’s side, with new signings Tobin Heath and Christen Press, surged to the top of the table in just its second season in the Women’s Super League. It looked like the Red Devils could actually challenge the established elites — Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal — for the league crown.
Those hopes were dashed on Friday as Man City humbled United 3-0 in a one-sided Manchester Derby, capped off by a stunning chip shot from Caroline Weir.
City, with its own crop of Americans, dominated what could be seen as a knockout match in the chase for the WSL title. The win pulled the Citizens to within two points of reigning champion Chelsea while the Red Devils are now three points back having played an extra game. (Arsenal has disappeared from the race after a shockingly poor run of form.)
Friday’s match featured three Americans. Abby Dahlkemper played the full 90 at the heart of City’s defense while Christen Press battled her the entire time as the opposing forward for United. Lavelle came on at the 85-minute mark with her team already leading 3-0 while Tobin Heath and Sam Mewis missed the game with injuries.
But Friday’s match was all about City’s British stars.
Lucy Bronze, the best fullback in football since Philipp Lahm, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, showing a striker’s instincts to pounce on a loose ball in the box.
Lauren Hemp made it 2-0 in the 71st minute. Though she was a bit fortunate her shot went in off a defender, the two-goal advantage was fully deserved for City.
Weir finished off United with a worldie in the 84th minute.
Taking advantage of a lazy giveaway, Weir danced around a defender before completely bamboozling United keeper Mary Earps with a majestic chip.
United never really could mount much of an attack against Dahlkemper and Co. Press worked hard but didn’t get enough service to make an impact on the scoreboard and as a result the Red Devils likely saw their title challenge end on Friday. One wonders how this game might have been different if Heath were healthy, but City was missing its midfield dynamo in Mewis so the argument is moot.
United has now lost two straight and three of its last five after not losing once prior. City hasn’t lost in league play since a 3-1 setback to Chelsea on Oct. 11.
The Women’s Super League title will likely be decided on April 25, when City hosts Chelsea on the third-to-last weekend of the season.