Arsenal Women WSL Champions – how the season unfolded

by Andrew Crawshaw

After our agonising third place finish last season, one point behind Manchester City, hopes were high at the start of this season that second place and Champions League qualification would be an achievable objective this time round.

We had recruited well in summer with Pauline Peyraud-Magnin,  Tabea Kemme, Lia Walti, Viktoria Schnaderbeck joining the club.  Pauline as an experienced goalkeeper to provive backup/competition to our established No1 Sari van Veenendaal, the others being seasoned internationals.

Our starting squad was:-

Goalkeepers – Sari van Veenendaal (Netherlands), Pauline Peyraud-Magnin (France)

Defenders – Emma Mitchell (Scotland), Leah Williamson (England), Louise Quinn (Republic of Ireland), Tabea Kemme (Germany), Jessica Samuelsson (Sweeden)

Midfielders – Danielle Van de Donk (Netherlsnds), Jordan Nobbs (England), Kim Little (Scotland), Lia Walti (Switzerland), Dominique Bloodworth (Netherlands), Viktoria Schnaderbeck (Austria), Ava Kuyken (England)

Forwards – Danielle Carter (England), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands), Katie McCabe (Republic of Ireland), Lisa Evans (Scotland), Beth Mead (England)

A small squad, 18 senior players plus Ava Kuyken who was 17 and still at school but had outgrown U21 football.

Right from the start of the season we had the shadow of injuries hanging over us, Dani Carter had torn her ACL in the last game of last season and would play little part at all this season.  In a pre season friendly she was joined by Viktoria Schnaderbeck also with a serious knee injury and Tabea Kemme was still recovering from a knee injury from before she signed.  Effectively we started with 15 senior players.

Our League season was:

Date Match Result Points Total See Note
9/9/18 Arsenal v Liverpool 5 – 0 3 6 Miedema hat-trick
19/9/18 Yeovil v Arsenal 0 – 7 3 9
23/9/18 Arsenal v West Ham 4 – 3 3 12 Van de Donk hat-trick
14/10/18 Chelsea v Arsenal 0 – 5 3 15 1
21/10/18 Arsenal v Reading 6 – 0 3 18 Miedema hat-trick
28/10/18 Bristol v Arsenal 0 – 4 3 21
4/11/18 Arsenal v Birmingham 3 – 1 3 24
18/11/18 Everton v Arsenal 0 – 4 3 27 2
25/11/18 Arsenal v Brighton 4 – 1 3 30 3
2/12/18 Man City v Arsenal 2 – 0 0 30 4
6/1/19 West Ham v Arsenal 2 – 4 3 33 5
13/1/19 Arsenal v Chelsea 1 – 2 0 33 6
27/1/19 Reading v Arsenal 0 – 3 3 36 7
20/2/19 Arsenal v Yeovil 3 – 0 3 39
14/3/19 Arsenal v Bristol 4 – 0 3 42 8 – Miedema hat-trick
24/3/19 Liverpool v Arsenal 1 – 5 3 45 9
31/3/19 Birmingham v Arsenal 0 – 1 3 48 10
21/4/19 Arsenal v Everton 2 – 1 3 51
28/4/19 Brighton v Arsenal 0 – 4 3 54 11
11/5/19 Arsenal v Man City 1 – 0 3 57 12


This match was notable for several reasons – it was the first time Chelsea had lost at home in over two years, they were unbeaten in 2017/18 in winning the WSL and these were the first goals they had conceded in 2018/19.  It was also notable for another reason as in Min62 Drew Spence made a terrible scissor challenge on Kim Little, it was late, from behind and broke Kim’s leg.  The only surprise was from Mr Purkiss the referee who only brandished a yellow card a terrible decision.

Jordan Nobbs suffered an ACL Rupture late in this game and missed both the rest of the season and also the chance of representing England in the Summer 2019 World Cup in France.  Assuming she is out for the full nine months she will probably miss the start of the 2019/20 season as well.

Our injury crisis was such that we had 10 fit senior outfield players and our subs bench contained goalie Pauline Peyraud-Magnin and three of our 17 year old youngsters Ava Kuyken, Ruby Grant and Paige Bailey-Gayle who all got a run out.  Tabea Kemme (knee), Jessica Samuelsson (broken foot), Nobbs (ACL), Little (broken leg), Carter (ACL) and Schnaderbeck (knee) all being unavailable

For this match Emma Mitchell was not fit to start (but was named on the bench) and her place in the lineup was taken by Paige Bailey-Gayle.  Ava Kuyken, Ruby Grant and Amelia Hazard (another 17 year old) were the other outfield players on the bench.  Our severely understrength team couldn’t overturn City’s two goal advantage despite us being camped in the City half for most of the second half.

This game marked the first start for Jani Arnth a Danish defender brought in during the transfer window to provide much needed reinforcements.  Both Bloodworth and Mitchell had undergone minor surgery over Christmas – Bloodworthh played the entirety of this match whilst Mitchell was not ready.

Our second defeat of the season and our second winter signing Katarine Veje, also Danish and a  left winger/left, back made her debut of the subs bench late on in the game.  We had just Four players on our subs bench, Sari van Veenendaal, Emma Mitchell (on for an injured Beth Mead in the second half) Ava Kuyken and Veje (on for Arnth in min 77)

Kim Little returned from her leg break, Beth Mead had recovered from her injury against Chelsea and Ava Kuyken got her first start for the club.  We still only had two senior outfield players on the bench though.

Danielle Carter made her return from her ACL injury coming on as a substitute in the 85th minute and all but broke the crossbar with a thunderous shot from distance.  Joe Montemurro jokingly said “ Thank God, we wouldn’t have heard the end of it”.  Viktoria Schnaderbeck also featured on the bench for the first time in the season.

Jess Samuelsson had recovered sufficiently from her second broken foot of the year (both on International duty) to make the subs bench, she came on in the 74th minute.  This was to be her last appearance for Arsenal as she had signed a contract with Sweedish side FC Rosengård.  In truth her stay with Arsenal was something of a dissapointment, injuries preventing her from being at her best very often.

Tabea Kemme made a 90th minute appearance as a substitute (her only time on the pitch this season, she aggravated her knee injury and has since had surgery.

Another professional performance to win the league with one game to spare.

An 88th minute rocket of a goal by Emma Mitchell of all people cued the victory celebrations and ended Manchester City’s unbeaten domestic season.

Here is the final League table

Team P W D L GF GA +/- Pts
1 Arsenal 20 18 0 2 70 13 57 54
2 Man City 20 14 5 1 53 17 36 47
3 Chelsea 20 12 6 2 46 14 32 42
4 Birmingham 20 13 1 6 29 17 12 40
5 Reading 20 8 3 9 33 30 3 27
6 Bristol City 20 7 4 9 17 34 -17 25
7 West Ham 20 7 2 11 25 37 -12 23
8 Liverpool 20 7 1 12 21 38 -17 22
9 Brighton 20 4 4 12 16 38 -22 16
10 Everton 20 3 3 14 15 38 -23 12
11 Yeovil 20 2 1 17 11 60 -49 -3 *

* Yeovil went into administration late in the season and were docked 10 points as a result

In the two cup competitions we reached the final of the Continental Tyres Cup only to lose to Man City on penalties and lost 3 – 0 to Chelsea in the FA Cup, despite having the majority of possession we failed to take our chances whilst Chelsea played on the break and took theirs.  Ultimately though these defeats weren’t to spoil our season as we rightly finished champions.

6 Replies to “Arsenal Women WSL Champions – how the season unfolded”

  1. Thanks Andrew.

    While we’ve lost a goalkeeper (Sari?), it seems we’ve signed another goalkeeper (from Bayern Munich). So, we theoretically still have 2 goalkeepers.

    It sure would be nice to see the injuries go down next season.

  2. Gord,

    Yes we have signed Manuela Zinsberger from Bayern Munich, she is 24 and is the first choice Austrian keeper and a good friend of Viki Schnaderbeck. Reportedly good with the ball at her feet she should have no problems settling in next season.

    We also signed Jill Roord a 22 year old Dutch midfielder from Bayern and she should also fit in well with Danielle Van de Donk and Viviane Miedema.

    That’s both of our outgoing players replaced, now need some reinforcements to help us with the increased games we will be playing next season.

  3. I think Watford is a joke of a club side that played in the PL last season and will undeservingly (going by their 6 nil drubbing at the hands of Man City today in the FA Cup final at Wembley) still play in the PL next season.

    I thought Wolves were the ones that reached the FA Cup final to meet Man City but not knowing it was this fake of a club side called Watford who can only harass Arsenal with cojones theory whenever they play against them that reached the final. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have said in one my comments posting during the week on this site that I don’t want Man City to win the treble this season. For, I believe had it been Wolves were the ones that reached the final and play against Man City today, certainly, they would have stopped Man City from lifting the Cup but lift it themselves.

  4. Lyon beat Barcelona 4-1 in the Womens Champions League.

    Mar$ity beat Watford 6-0 in some game. This is not a treble, as The FA Cup is not a trophy. It is especially not a trophy, as you can’t win whatever game that was by 6-0.

    It was nice to read that Santi Cazorla has been called up to play for Spain again.

  5. Hi Andrew,

    I’ve enjoyed reading your well balanced, enthusiastic and informative blogs. After sitting beside you during a match, it’s all the more impressive how few notes you take!

    I particularly want to thank you for how supportive you (and the entire Arsenal Supporters Club) are of the younger players. It means a lot to them and never goes unnoticed.

  6. Now that is a nice reply to a thread Andrew!

    Halley, I have no idea what your relation is to the Arsenal women/female program. I will never run into you at an Arsenal game, I live in Dawson Creek, BC, Canada (where the Alaska Highway begins).

    About 20 miles outside of Dawson Creek (towards Edmonton) is the community of Tomslake, BC. Many of the people there were from the Sudeten (of Czechoslovakia). They all played football, and when they emigrated to Tomslake (courtesy of the A.Hitler Travel Company I believe), they brought their kids up with football. I went to high school with a girl from Tomslake who was on the Canadian Women’s team for 7 (more?) years. I believe she coaches UVictoria now. A few years later, I lived with all of her brothers. I played soccer for Tomslake, even though I wasn’t a Tomslake “resident” for a while. Many years later, I was the athletic first aid person for a bunch of 1DFC Victoria (Edmonton, Alberta) football teams, including a couple or 3 years for their women’s team.

    Women (and young women and girls) can play good football! A friend who was originally from Kosovo (trained to be a chef in Switzerland) had daughters playing football. One of his daughters was 13 or 14 at the time, and at a tournament in the Okanogan of BC, she met a boy who had won the 100 yard dash at the BC Summer games in his age group (same as hers). They had a race, and she beat him! She was just a short little thing, but could she run!

    I’m hoping for the best from all the Arsenal female programs; well, I am hoping well for all Arsenal programs. But just because I am male, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the female program.

    Like Andrew, I was trained in engineering.

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