by Andrew Crawshaw
Whilst the most that our Men’s team can achieve is third place in the Premier League, our Women and U18s are in with a real shot of winning their leagues, sadly our U23s are not going to retain the title they won last year.
Current League table :-
We are currently second in the table two points behind Manchester City but with two games in hand so the title really is there for us to win. Our remaining six games are
Today Thursday 14 March 19:30 Arsenal v Bristol City at Meadow Park. The game is also due to be shown on the WSL facebook page for those of you with access to that (try @ArsenalWFC v bristolcitywfc).
This is certainly a game where we are strong favourites despite our lengthy injury list. Katrine Veje is the latest addition as she was seen on crutches after the Continental Cup Final having suffered a suspected fractured leg.
Sunday March 24 Liverpool v Arsenal 12:30 kickoff at Tranmere Rovers FC, Prenton Park. The match will be live on BT Sport 1 for those of you in the UK (although I’m sure streams may well be available elsewhere).
Again we will be strong favourites
Sunday 31 March Birmingham City v Arsenal 12:30 kickoff at Solihull Motors ground. This match is live on the BBC Red Button and on-line sports services.
The second toughest of our remaining games, Birmingham are always well drilled and not at all easy to beat particularly at their ground.
Sunday April 21 Arsenal v Everton at Meadow Park 14:00 kickoff
This should be another game we win, there is also a real possibility of some of our injured players being fit enough to return as a boost to our squad.
Sunday 28 April Brighton v Arsenal Crawley Town FC 14:00 kickoff
Again given the results of the two teams this should be another win for Arsenal.
Sunday 12 May Arsenal v Manchester City at Meadow Park 14:00 kickoff
What a way for our season to finish – a game against the second best team in the league, depending on results it will either be a title decider or a Coronation. Either way a must see.
Whilst I’m talking about our Women’s sides there is good news for two of our Academy sides in their respective Cup competitions
Our U16s have made it through to the FA Youth Cup Final by beating Oxford United 3 – 0 thanks to a brace by Rachel Harle and a late goal from Lexi Lloyd-Smith. They will play Chelsea in the final on Saturday April 27. The venue is yet to be announced but is usually at the FA training ground.
Our U21 squad beat Chelsea 2 – 0 so secure a place in the semi-final of the FA Academy Cup. The goals were scored by Melissa Filis and Ruby Grant (two of our 17 year olds who have been getting game time with our first team due to our injury issues). They will meet the FA East Region Academy (Ipswich Town) on Sunday March 24 at Hertfordshire University.
I need to point out that our entire U21 squad is made up of U19 players due to the upheaval in the Academy at the end of last season with senior players leaving en-masse to other teams in the hope of getting more first team football. This is one of the problems with having a first team squad made up entirely of Internationals, although with the injuries we have suffered had some of those players stayed they would undoubtably have got game time if they were good enough.
Here we are the team leading the table but Spurs have two games in hand. The key remaining match is likely to be our penultimate fixture at London Colney where we play Spurs in what will probably be a League decider.
Sat Mar 16 West Ham v Arsenal 11:00 at Little Heath Sports Centre
Sat Mar 30 Arsenal v Swansea City 11:00 at London Colney
Sat 6 April Reading v Arsenal 11:00 Reading Training Ground
Sat 13 April Arsenal v Spurs 11:00 at London Colney
Sat 27 April Fulham v Arsenal 11:00 at Fulham Training Ground
The winner of the Southern League will take on the winner of the Northern League for a title decider.
After the great season our U23s had last year it was always going to be tough to repeat it this year. A number of the stars from last year have moved out on loan or up to first team squad duties and it hasn’t always been easy for Freddie Ljungberg to keep a settled squad.
With 4 games to play we are solidly in mid-table, the highest we can realistically finish is fourth (assuming we win our game in hand). It mathematically impossible to finish top and highly improbable to finish higher than third.
Our remaining games are :-
Friday 29 Mar Arsenal v West Ham Meadow Park Borehamwood kickoff 19:00. This is our game in hand which was abandoned at half time due to thick fog the first time it was played. We were leading by three nil at the time and I wouldhope for a similarly dominant performance in the replay.
Monday 8 April Arsenal v Derby Meadow Park Borehamwood, kickoff 19:00
Monday 15 April Chelsea v Arsenal Stamford Bridge 19:00
Friday 26 April Arsenal v Leicester Emirates Stadium 19:00
Please note that all clubs have to play three matches at their main stadium hence the last two games being at Stamford Bridge and the Emirates. Tickets are a nominal price and it is well worth going to the games to see first hand how our youngsters are doing. The two matches at Borehamwood are free entry so an even better incentive to go.
Unfortunately I can’t go to weekday fixtures at the moment so if anyone feels able, please go and submit a post match report for publication.