Arsenal Ladies – a busy fortnight
by Andrew Crawshaw
Whilst we have all been interested in the Arsenal First Team pre-season games, the Ladies have been in full on competition. The Ladies season re-started following the World Cup with a visit from Liverpool Ladies and an unaccustomed loss. Arsenal Ladies v Liverpool Ladies – awful ref, awful facilities.
Since then a more normal service has returned with four games played, all of them won.
We are involved in two competitions at the moment – The First Division of the WSL and the Continental Cup.
The FA Women’s Super League runs from April to October and currently comprises two divisions, a First Division of 8 teams and a Second of 10.
The current League Table is :-
|4||Notts County Ladies||9||4||2||3||14|
|5||Manchester City Women||8||4||2||2||14|
|7||Birmingham City Ladies||9||1||3||5||6|
|8||Bristol Academy Ladies||9||0||2||7||2|
Sun 19th July – Birmingham City Ladies v Arsenal 0 – 1
This game was shown live on BT Sport so I could watch the game easily. In truth it wasn’t that great a game – Arsenal by far the better team but lacking their customary fluency and all too often the quality of the final ball was missing.
The Manager, Pedro Martinez Losa made three changes to the team who had lost to Liverpool the previous week, Emma Mitchell returned at left back following injury (Dominique Janssen moving into central midfield) and Danielle Carter and Carla Humphrey moved to the bench in favour of the second half substitutes against Liverpool, Natalia Pablos Sanchon and Chioma Ubogagu.
The Manager had said that we needed to start with far more urgency and that was certainly true to a degree as we didn’t lose the game in the opening minutes as we had the week before. We really didn’t create much in the way of clear cut opportunities although Rebecca Spencer in the Birmingham Goal was by far the busier of the two keepers. The pivotal moments of the game came just before half time when former gunner Freida Ayisi had two moments of madness, first lunging at Natalia for a deserved booking and then 60 seconds later crashing into Leah Williamson in what was for me a straight red card but only earned a second yellow.
At the start of the second half Alex Scott (thigh strain) was replaced by Danielle Carter and for Birmingham Potter was replaced by Linnett.
It only took 8 minutes before Arsenal’s numerical superiority counted Ubogagu collecting a loose ball on the edge of the area and played a one two with Natalia and calmly slotting the return past Spencer.
To their credit Birmingham never gave up and were threatening on the break and really should have scored when Allen hit the crossbar from 6 yards out (it looked easier to score). In the end the single goal was enough to return Arsenal to winning ways and second place in the table.
Arsenal Team – Byrne (GK), Rose, Scott (C) (46), Mitchell, Stoney, Williamson, Corredera, Losada (78), Sanchon (73), Janssen, Ubobagu ⚽.
Subs – Veenendaal (GK), Yankey (73), Humphrey, Carter (46), Kelly, Bailey (78)
Sunday 26 July – Arsenal v Notts County Ladies (2 – 1)
Another slow start from Arsenal, Clarke found herself through on goal in the fourth minute and beat Emma Byrne for the opening goal. That stung Arsenal into action and they were generally the better team for the remainder of the first half with good efforts from Natalia, Carter Mitchell and Corredera before half time.
The second had Arsenal in the ascendancy, Janssen having a 25 yarder fly inches over the bar and Telford (the England keeper in the Notts County goal) making good saves from Carter and Natalia in quick succession. Still Arsenal pressed and the equaliser came when Carter jumped highest to head home Corredera’s corner on the 60 minute mark.
If anything the Arsenal pressure increased still further and despite further good work by Telford with saves from Kelly and Ubogagu, Natalia followed up Jemma Rose’s header to complete the comeback and earn a two – one victory.
Arsenal Team – Byrne (GK) Mitchell, Janssen, Stoney (C), Rose, Corredera, Yankey (54), Bailey, Sanchon ⚽ (90), Carter ⚽, Ubogagu (87)
Subs – Veenendaal (GK), Devlin, Humphrey (87), Wubben-Moy (90), Kelly, Ritchie-Williams, Allen
The Continental Cup
The second competition Arsenal are involved in at the moment is the Continental Cup (named after the sponsors Continental Tyres).
This is a format unique to the Ladies game. The eight teams from the WSL Division 1 are joined by the 10 from the WSL: Division 2 (Doncaster Belles, Reading, Yeovil Town, Aston Villa, Everton, Oxford United, Durham Women, Millwall Lionesses, London Bees and Watford).
The 18 teams are split into three groups of six playing in a ‘Round Robin’ so 5 games to be played. The top two from each group progress to the knockout stage as do the two third placed teams with the best record. The knockout stage is quarterfinals, semi finals and (of course) the final. This cup is one that until last year Arsenal ‘Owned’ having won it every year since its inception. Last year we lost to Manchester City in the final. We need to return to our winning ways this year to regain our trophy.
The Teams in Arsenal’s group are – Arsenal, reading, Chelsea, Millwall, Watford and London Bees. Arsenal have Watford and Reading at home and Chelsea, Millwall and London Bees away. The Quarter final ties are on Saturday 12 September.
Thursday 23 July Arsenal v Watford 3 – 0
Arsenal fielded a much changed team for this fixture from the usual WSL League team. It resembled a Ladies version of the Carling Cup squads that we used to see a couple of years back. In goal Sari Van Veenendaal made her first appearance since her recent transfer, teenager Lotte Wubben-Moy made her first appearance alongside fellow youngsters Carla Humphrey and Chloe Kelly. Rachel Yankey returned from a back injury captaining the side and Jade Bailey replaced Vicky Losada who was injured in the Birmingham WSL game.
Watford attacked right from the opening kickoff but Veenendaal was more than equal to the resulting shot. Thereafter it was almost all Arsenal throughout the first half.
Danielle Carter sped past her marker on the right flank and crossed for Williamson whose powerful first time shot gave Witney in the Watford goal no chance whatsoever. Shortly after it was two nil, Carter again on the right wing with a cross, this time powerfully headed home by Chloe Kelly on her début. It was three before half time, Phoebe Read handling in the box and the referee rightly awarding the penalty. Yankey dispatched the spot kick comfortably. Three nil at half time and effectively game over.
The second half started with Arsenal pressing for more goals, but it just wasn’t happening. Carla Humphrey should have scored but shot over from close range, Janssen had a 25 yarder not far over the bar and Carter was stopped by a last ditch tackle. Towards the end Donnelly had a good chance for a consolation goal but again Veenendaal was up to the task and kept het first clean sheet on her debut.
And here is my prediction for the future: teenager Lotte Wubben-Moy, a centre back, who will become a great player. Her first two touches weren’t brilliant, both going to Watford players, after that she had a great game and hardly put a foot wrong. She is tall and good both in the air and on the ground. Her Arsenal début appearance will likely be the first of many.
Arsenal Team – Sari Van Veenendaal (GK), Jade Bailey (58), Marta Corredera, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Jemma Rose (83), Carla Humphrey, Dominique Janssen, Leah Williamson ⚽︎, Rachel Yankey ⚽︎ (69), Danielle Carter, Chloe Kelly ⚽︎
Subs – Sian Rogers (GK), Natalia Pablos Sanchon, Evie Clarke, Charlotte Devlin (69), Rianna Dean, Chiars Ritchie-Williams (58), Gemma Allen (83)
Wednesday 29 July London Bees v Arsenal 1 – 3
Another game where Arsenal found themselves a goal down but fought back to emerge victorious.
Further changes from the WSL League squad with a back three comprising Lotte Wubben-Moy and Chiara Richie-Williams (combined age 32) alongside the experienced Casey Stoney. Leah Williamson, Rachel Yankey and Vicky Losada were all missing through injury.
In the first half, the opening opportunity fell to Arsenal with Evie Clarke through on goal but the Bees keeper, Sophie Harris, did well to make the save. On 21 minutes the Bees took the lead with Gaylor having time to turn in the box and shoot into the bottom corner.
At the start of the second half Arsenal made two substitutions, Corredera coming on for Chiara Ritchie-Williams and Dominique Janssen for Rianna Dean, and the third change was made a few minutes later with Pablos Sanchon coming on for Charlie Devlin. The changes seemed to make the difference, Carla Humphrey rushing through and chipping the keeper in Minute 62 The second goal came moments later with Pablos Sanchon placing a calm finish into th ecorner of the net. The third and final goal came in the 72nd minute with Humphrey crossing from th eflank for the Spaniard to shoot past the outstretched Harris.
Arsenal Team – Sari Van Veenendaal (GK), Rianna Dean (46), Carla Humphrey ⚽︎, Gemma Allen, Charlotte Devlin (58), Taome Oliver, Chloe Kelly, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Casey Stoney (C), Chiara Ritchie-Williams (56), Evie Clarke
Subs – Sian Rogers (GK), Natalia Pablos Sanchon (58) ⚽⚽, Dominique Janssen, Chioma Ubogagu ,Marta Corredera, Vyan Sampson, Jade Bailey
Four games in little more than a week and a half and Manchester City to come on Sunday afternoon (16:00) kickoff and shown live on BT Sport after the (lesser?) men’s game v Chelsea. After that Chelsea Away in the Cup (16 Aug) and at home in the League (23 Aug), Reading at home in the cup (27 Aug) and Millwall away in the cup (30 Aug).
Please try and get to a Ladies game if you can. The games are worth watching, affordable and ideal if you want to take young children, the players are usually only too happy to give autographs etc afterwards. More are now shown on BT Sport as well.
We’re on Twitter @UntoldArsenal