- Arsenal rise, referee as expected, bonkers journalist, last six games triumph
- Arsenal Women WSL Week 6 – Preview
By Andrew Crawshaw
On Thursday evening we played the first of our Continental Tyres Cup group stage games. Definitely not what we wanted to be doing at this stage of the competition, but it is the result of failing to qualify for the Champions League proper (the round the last 16).
We are in Group D along with Tottenham, Bristol City, Southampton and Reading. The first two play in the WSL, the last two in the Championship. In order to guarantee progress to the knockout stage we need to win the group. There are 5 groups in total. Chelsea will enter at the quarter-final stage. The remaining two places will be located by the FA (just don’t ask me how at this stage because I need to do a lot more investigating the FA’s almost impenetrable website).
The group kicked off on 11 October
- Bristol City v Southampton – a 1 – 1 draw at full time and Southampton getting an extra point by virtue of winning the ensuing penalty shoot out 4 – 3.
- Tottenham v Southampton – a 6 – 0 win to Tottenham.
The second round of games was this week
- Wednesday night Reading v Southampton – A win by the only goal of the game to Southampton, Lexi Lloyd-Smith scoring in the 85th minute from a Rianna Dean assist.
- Arsenal v Bristol City Thursday 11 November. Arsenal won 3 – 1 with goals from Frida Maanum, assisted by Beth Mead; Lotte Wubben-Moy a header from a Katie McCabe corner and a late goal from Stina Blackstenius from a Caitlin Ford assist. Cecile Struck got the Bristol goal with a deflected shot following Megan Connolly free kick.
The third round games are on 22/23 November
- Wednesday 22 November – Tottenham v Bristol City
- Thursday 23 November – Southampton v Arsenal
The fourth round of games are on 13 December
- Arsenal v Tottenham – 19:00 kickoff at Meadow Park
- Bristol City v Reading – 19:30 kickoff
The group stages finish on the 24/25 January
- 24 January @ 19:00 – Reading v Arsenal
- 25 January @19:45 – Southampton v Tottenham
At present the table reads…
The oddity here is that this competition has an automatic penalty shoot-out in the event of the teams being level at the end of normal time. The winner of the shoot-out gets two points from the game, the loser only gets the one point for the full time draw. Hence Southampton have five points instead of the usual four for a win and a draw. – I don’t make the rules merely report on the results.
Arsenal v Bristol City – the match report
Prior to the start Jonas Eidevall, our manager, had teased that we would be fielding a significantly changed team from those who started in our last WSL league match.
True to his word he made a number of changes. Sabrina D’Angelo was our keeper, Noelle Maritz and Jen Beattie returned to our back four, Kyra Cooney-Cross and Kathrine Møller Kühl formed our double pivot at the base of midfield with Frida Maanum ahead of them.
Our front three were Beth Mead (her first start for nearly a year following her ACL injury), Lina Hurting and Sina Blackstenius as CF. Kim Little was given the night off, the captains armband being worn by Katie McCabe.
Noelle Maritz, Jen Beattie, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie McCabe
Kyra Cooney Cross, Kathrine Møller Kühl
Beth Mead, Frida Maanum, Lina Hurtig
Subs: Manu Zinsberger (GK), Naomi Williams (GK), Amanda Ilestedt, Lia Wälti, Alessia Russo, Steph Catley (63 for McCabe), Chloe Lacasse (63 for Beth Mead), Viv Miedema (69 for Maanum) Victoria Pelova (85 for Cooney-Cross).
We played Bristol City in the WSL on the 22nd October where we won 2 – 1 thanks to a brace from Katie McCabe, Rachel Furness getting an equaliser for Bristol. Bristol harried us for most of the game playing with a deep block but broke quickly and incisively when they got the chance. We therefore had a fair idea of what we were likely to expect and they certainly played the same way.
Arsenal, on the other hand, passed the ball much more quickly with a far greater percentage of one or two touches than three weeks ago. We were on top from the kickoff but Bristol defended valiantly always seeming to have a player in the way of our final pass or to block he shot. That changed however in the 27h minute when Beth Mead (who got big cheers from the crowd whenever she touched the ball) set up Frida Maanum whose shot was unstoppable. Less than 10 minutes later Lotte Wubben-Moy made it 2-0 with a fabulous header at the near post from a Katie McCabe corner.
In between the two goals Katie McCabe unleashed one of her long range rockets from all of 30 metres which required a good save from Clark in the Bristol Goal.
We didn’t have it all our own way though and I must give a mention to Tina Teisar a young (18) Welsh player who was prominent on the left wing and gave Noelle Maritz a tough time in the first half.
In general, though, our defence was well enough organised to react to Bristol’s attacks and we rarely looked in any serious danger of conceding a goal. The first half ended with us leading by 2 – 0 and being pretty much in total control.
That pattern continued into the second half, he Bristol press became less intense as they seemed to tire. Frida Maanum came close to adding a third goal narrowly missing to the right of the goal, Kyra Cooney-Cross was the next to come close bringing another save from Clark, shots from Stina and Katie were blocked. Beth Mead’s match ended just after the hour mark when she was replaced by Chloe Lacasse, Steph Catley replacing Katie McCabe who passed the captain’s armband to Jen Beattie. We made two more changes in the 69th minute Viv Miedema replacing Frida Maanum and Caitlin Ford on for Lina Hurting.
A minute later we had given away an innocuous free kick on the left-hand side midway into our half. Megan Connolly delivered a long floated ball to Sille Struck whose shot took a deflection giving D’Angelo no chance and Bristol were right back in he game. Absolutely something from nothing but then hat’s football I guess. The goal re-invigorated Bristol and for a while it looked like they may have been able to find a way back.
We withstood the pressure and reasserted our dominance, Viv had a header strike the crossbar, then Caitlin Ford did the same with a shot from the left hand side of the box and had another shot saved. we then went into 7 minutes of added time when our pressure eventually told and Stina Blackstenius added the gloss on the scoreline that our performance deserved.
Now for a quick turnaround before we play away at Leicester in the evening kickoff in the WSL on Sunday evening 18:45 on Sky Sports. Coverage starts at 1830.
- Arsenal v Lens: the team, the home/away form and the strange coincidences
- Arsenal v Lens: they had a poor start but are now flying
- Where there is power, money and greed there is corruption
- Why do Tottenham players get fouled more than those of any other club?
- The media, the League and PGMO. An insidious agreement rears its ugly head