by Andrew Crawshaw
The WSL recommences next weekend and Arsenal travel to Kingston to play Chelsea, on the 7th. Then on the 14th they travel to Wycombe to play Reading in the semi-final of the Continental Tyres Cup (the Ladies equivalent of the League Cup).
Neither ground is especially near the Club’s main ground – but then we play our home games at Borehamwood which isn’t particularly close to the Emirates either. Until Women’s football starts attracting more than a thousand or so spectators the Clubs won’t start using their main stadia. Can I give a few reasons why you should make time to go and watch Ladies football :-
- Mike Dean doesn’t referee Women’s football
- The Women play to a good standard and more often than not produce more goals than the men
- Mike Dean doesn’t referee Women’s football
- There isn’t the same kind of play acting whenever a player goes near a prima-donna star who in the men’s game falls to the ground rolling over and over.
- Mike Dean doesn’t ……
- The ticket price to watch an Arsenal home game is £10 or £5 for U16s or over 60s, and what else can you go and see for that kind of money?
- The atmosphere is really friendly and players are delighted for you to take selfies with them etc.
- It is a great introduction for young children to experience live sport
- Mike Dean won’t be seen.
The game on Sunday will be the first League game for our new Manager Joe Montemurro and it will be a tough test against another of the top three teams in the country. The current League table looks like this :-
Arsenal are third by virtue of a disappointing early season 5 – 2 loss to Manchester City and failing to score enough goals. I hope that having changed manager we will start to play much nearer our capability. Under our previous manager Pedro Losa, all too often we played like a group of strangers rather than a coherent football team.
Chelsea are the league’s highest goalscorers with 21 to City’s 19 and our 11 so they average over 4 goals a game. They have also only conceded 2 goals to our 8. Under normal circumstances a draw would probably be considered a good result, in reality if we are to have any realistic chance of a top two finish this year, thereby earning a place in Europe next season, nothing other than a win will do.
In Vivian Miedema, we have one of the best forwards in World Football, albeit that we haven’t yet seen the best from her. Sunday would be a good time for that to change. Danny Carter and Beth Mead are support strikers. Beth has proven a more potent goal threat this year again Danny needs to up her game..
In goal Sari Van Veenendaal is competent but can be harried into kicking errors by oncoming forwards; she needs to keep it simple and if a clearance into the stands is the best option take it rather than a risky pass into space. Backup keeper is Anna Moorhouse
Club Captain Alex Scott is in her last season as right back and is increasingly being used from the bench. Swedish international Jessica Samuelson is more likely to start these days with academy graduate Taylor Hinds in her first season in the first team squad as additional back up. At left back Scotland International Emma Mitchell is the usual starter, Leah Williamson another academy graduate is likely backup.
At Centre Back the two normal starters are German International Josephine Henning and Jemma Rose. Louise Quinn and Vyan Simpson provide the backups.
Our multi-national midfield should be one of our greatest strengths, assuming Joe Montemurro can get them all on the same page. English International, Jordan Nobbs usually steps up to Captain when Alex Scott isn’t playing, and regularly chips in with goals from open play and increasingly from dead ball situations. American Heather O’Reilly is one of the most experienced players in the side. She is one of the most capped players of all time with 231 appearances for the USA including three Olympic gold medals. Kim Little from Scotland and Dutch European Champions Dominique Janssen and Danielle Van de Donk complete the midfield lineup.
It has been frustrating at times to watch this group of extremely talented players not produce the kind of football that they should be capable of playing. When that happens we are quite capable of returning to the top spot once again.
The Match is on Sunday 7th January at the AFC Wimbledon Stadium, Kingsmeadow, Kingston Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 3PB. Kick-off is at 13:30 and the game is scheduled for TV coverage in the UK on BT Sport.
Chelsea have an agreement to purchase the stadium from AFC Wimbledon as part of Wimbledon’s move back to Plough Lane Wimbledon.
The second match is the semi-final of the Continental Tyres Cup. This is the following Sunday 14 January and is against Reading. They play at Wycombe Wanderers ground – Adams Park, Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, HP12 4HJ. Kickoff for this match is 14:00. I can’t see that the game is being televised in UK but Arsenal.com indicate that there will be Audio commentary available through the Arsenal player.
Tickets are £6 for adults and £3 for children and concessions (over 60s, students and disabled). There is also a £15 family ticket – two adults and two children. Parking is available on site for £2. Go to reading.fawsl.com to purchase.
We played Reading in the group stage losing to a goal scored by ex Arsenal player Farah Williams straight from the kickoff after Arsenal had equalised, after seeing Moorhouse too far off her line – not something you see too often. THAT goal.
We should be more than capable of winning this game to set up a final against Chelsea or Manchester City who meet in the other semi-final.
Should the teams be level after 90 minutes then the match will go to extra time then penalties. The earlier rounds went straight to penalties. Should extra time be required then teams are allowed a fourth substitution.
The ContinentalTyres Cup is our competition – we have only lost two matches in the knockout stages (once in the final). We have won the Cup in every other year it has been in existence. It’s time we got it back again.