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Liverpool (Women) v Arsenal Preview

By Andrew Crawshaw

There are two games this weekend in the WSL, both involving clubs with games in hand.  We are away to Liverpool in a game that will be televised on BT Sport on Sunday at 12:30 UK time, so there is a fair chance of finding it on a stream for those of you who are outside the UK.

We are currently second in the WSL two points behind leaders Manchester City but have two games in hand.  Chelsea are in third place four points behind us and again we have two games in hand.  Both City and Chelsea have three more games to play – we have five.  The top two clubs qualify for the Women’s Champions League so two wins will see us achieve that minimum aim.

Liverpool’s last game was at home against Chelsea and they lost 4 – 0, in their previous game they lost 3 – 0 away at Manchester City.  I must point out that prior to that they had a string of positive results winning four games consecutively, scoring 11 and only conceding once.  Those matches were in the league against West Ham (1 – 0 win, Yeovil 2 – 1 win) and two wins against lower league opposition in the Women’s FA Cup (fourth round 6 – 0 win against MK Dons, and fifth round  2 – 0 win against Millwall).  Their main goal threat is Coourtney Sweetman-Kirk who now has 10 goals for the season.

Our last match was was at home where we beat Bristol City by four nil, Vivianne Miedema getting her  fourth hat-trick of the season and taking her league goal tally to 19 for the season.  It is worth noting that this is higher than any of her male counterparts. Sergio Aguero has 18 (107 mins/goal) one ahead of Salah, Aubameyang, Kane and Mane.  Miedema’s strike rate is one per 70 minutes so she is 30% more productive than the leading male scorer ( she also has 7 assists in the league).

Team P W D L +/- Pts
1 Man City 17 12 5 0 35 41
2 Arsenal 15 13 0 2 46 39
3 Chelaea 17 10 5 2 23 35
4 Birmingham 15 9 1 5 6 28
5 Bristol 16 6 4 6 -13 22
6 West Ham 16 6 1 9 -8 19
7 Reading 15 5 3 7 -2 18
8 Liverpool 15 5 1 9 -15 16
9 Brighton 17 3 4 10 -21 13
10 Everton 14 2 3 9 -17 9
11 Yeovil 15 1 1 13 -34 4

I have to say that based on results so far this season it will be a big surprise if Arsenal don’t come away with all three points and move back to the top of the table.

Liverpool lost a lot of their better players last summer to other clubs and it appeared as though they weren’t interested in investing for this season.  Two years ago they were one of the challengers to win the league, now they are far closer to relegation than the top of the table, although they are in no actual danger of dropping out of the WSL into the Championship (Yeovil would have to win all five of their remaining games and Liverpool lose all of their five).

Arsenal, at last, are starting to get some of our injured players back into the matchday squad.  For far too long we have been relying on no more than 12 or 13 fit senior players, augmented by a group of very capable under 18s from our development squad.  Joe Montemurro said before our match against Bristol that “This week’s training has been amazing because we have had a large amount of players competing and working with each other, so that’s allowed us to do some different things.  It’s been very difficult with limited players on the pitch.

It is probable that all of Viktoria Schnaderback, Dani Carter, Taba Kemme and Jessica Samuelsson will make the bench on Sunday.  Dani Carter came on for the last few minutes against Bristol and nearly broke the crossbar with an absolute thunderbolt of a shot – her first since she ruptured her ACL in the last game of last season.  Coach Joe Montemurro said, jokingly I think, “thank God, we wouldn’t have heard the end of it”.  He went on “That’s Dan Carter for you, she’s a special player and an explosive player.  we just love having her back and hopefully we can get her improving and playing her best”.  I must say that we looked far fresher last weekend than we have done for some time.  Let’s hope that continues.

The match is at Prenton Park, the home of Tranmere Rovers, in Birkenhead Mersyside.  Tickets are £5 for adults, £2.50 concessions and can be bought in advance from women.liverpoolfc.com.  Im sure they will also be available on the door.  Kickoff is at 12:30 and, as I said earlier,  it will be shown live on BT Sport in the UK.

COYG  Four wins for the title

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