by Andrew Crawshaw
The top of the WSL could hardly be tighter – here is the current table
There are three places available to WSL teams for next year’s Champions League and as you can see we are currently not occupying one of them. We do however have two games in hand over Manchester City who currently are in that third place and we are three points behind them with a superior goal difference.
City rather shot themselves in the foot at the weekend losing 2 – 1 to Liverpool, the first goal was an absolute gift from the City defence. Certainly advantage Arsenal at the moment I would think but we still have to win at least three of our remaining four games to be certain of European football again next year.
The battle for the top is almost as tight, Chelsea have two games in hand over United and are four points behind, they also have an inferior goal difference and so will need to win their games in hand with an aggregate score of at least +7 in order to beat United.
Here is a list of the remaining fixtures:-
- Wed 10 May 19:30 (Sky Sports) – Brighton v Arsenal
- Wed 17 May 18:15 (FA Player) – Everton v Arsenal
- Sun 21 May 12:30 (Sky Sports) – Chelsea v Arsenal
- Sat 27 May 14:30 (FA Player) – Arsenal v Aston Villa
- Sun 21 May 18:45 (Sky Sports) – Man United v Man City
- Sat 27 May 14:30 (FA Player) – Liverpool v Man United
- Wed 10 May 19:00 (FA Player) – Chelsea v Leicester
- Wed 17 May 20:15 (FA Player) – West Ham v Chelsea
- Sun 21 May 12:30 (SKY Sports) – Chelsea v Arsenal
- Sat 27 May 14:30 (FA Player) – Reading v Chelsea
- Sun 21 May 18:45 (Sky Sports) – Man United v Man City
- Sat 27 May 14:30 (FA Player) – Man City v Everton
With these fixtures involving both a Manchester and a London derby there is potential for any of the top four to drop points relative to their local rivals. I must say that we should win our games in hand against Brighton and Everton, and Chelsea must be odds-on favourites to win their matches against Leicester and West Ham.
In order for us to become champions we would also have to beat Chelsea (unlikely at Kingsmeadow) and Aston Villa, who are a very strong team and in tremendous form so that is probably a 50/50 chance. We probably need to win the Villa game to guarantee third place if we don’t get three points against Chelsea.
Chelsea are likely to go into their last two games level on points with United and with a very similar goal difference. The title may well be decided by how well the London and Manchester rivals do in their derbies.
Chelsea’s last game against Reading may well a lot tougher than their relative league positions indicate. Reading will almost certainly need to win to remain in the WSL and should be fighting for their lives so the outcome is no certainty (although again Chelsea are odds-on to win).
Brighton v Arsenal – The preview
I am not aware of any players returning to match fitness, we are still missing our four ACL injury players – Beth Mead, Vivianne Miedema, Leaf Williamson and Laura Wienroither. Kim Little is also out for the rest of the season and Caitlin Foord still hasn’t recovered although is expected back in the squad this season.
The team therefore basically picks itself. The only real decision is for Jonas to decide if he wants to stick with a back three in which case Jen Beattie plays in the middle of Lotte and Rafaelle, or reverts to his more trusted back four which gave us more midfield security when we changed to it against Leicester last time out. My bet is on him going for that option.
Brighton won their weekend game against West Ham by a single goal and should be safe from relegation although it isn’t a mathematical certainty.
Likely Starting 11
Manuella Zinsberger (GK)
Noele Maritz, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Rafaelle, Steph Catley
Lia Walti, Viktoria Pelova
Moller Kuhl, Frida Maanum, Katie McCabe
D’Angelo (GK), Marckese (GK), Jen Beattie, Teyah Goldie, Katie Reid, Jodie Taylor, Gio Queiroz, Michelle Agyemang
The match kicks off at 19:30 at Broadfield Stadium Crawley, and is being broadcast live on Sky Sports (Main Event and Football) in the UK . If you can’t find it on a local broadcaster outside the UK you will be able to find it on the FA Player.
5 Replies to “Arsenal v Brighton – The fight for Europe continues”
Regardless of opponent, we’re looking a little thin. Almost half the outfield 10 are out. Hoping for the win because this team has worked hard during a difficult season and deserve European football when they will be back to strength. COYG!
Injury update – Lina Hurtig, is ruled out (although I hadn’t included her), Steph Catley only lasted 15 minutes of the last game before needing to be substituted so must be doubtful and Stina also came off injured and required an ice pack on her calf and must be regarded as only fit for 45 minutes at most.
We are certainly running on empty as regards fit outfield players
I wouldn’t be at all suprised not if Jen Beattie started and would expect to see Teyah, Jodie, Gio and Michelle all on the pitch at some point in the game.
It is that sort of a season that with 4 matches to play I can not help but wonder if we will have enough players by the final game to put a team out. Never known a season like this for injuries, every time a player stays down following a tackle one fears the worst. The way the women have kept going despite all this they deserve to make CL next season.
A comprehensive 4-0 win for our Women tonight. We started like an express train with a brace from Stina Blackstenius in the first 8 minutes and she should have had a third shortly afterwards but for an incorrect offside decision. Third place now still with a game in hand over City. Frida Maanum got the third on 39 minutes and Victoria Pelova completed our scoring just before half time.
Michelle Agyyemang along with Laila Harbert (another of our 16 year olds) is with the England U17 euros squad so was unable to feature tonight.
On the injury front Lia Walti was a late withdrawal following the warmup and Gio on at halftime went off with what looked like a hamstring injury after 25 minutes or so. Hopefully neither injuries are serious. Catlin Foord replaced Gio which was good to see.
It’s always 4-0 when Arsenal play Crawley at the Broadfield stadium. I went to the matches in 2020 and 2022, and they were 4-0 too.