Arsenal v West Ham today: the expectations

by Bulldog Drummond

The new season of the Women’s Super League opens today with champions Arsenal playing West Ham.   The game is live on BT Sport.

Last season’s table was a joy to behold not just because we were at the top with a seven point margin over the megamoney Man City, but also because we suffered an injury crisis through most of the season, and yet still played terrific flowing football.  Here’s the final table….

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 20 18 0 2 70 13 +57 54
2 Manchester City 20 14 5 1 53 17 +36 47
3 Chelsea 20 12 6 2 46 14 +32 42
4 Birmingham City 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 United 20 7 2 11 25 37 −12 23
8 Liverpool 20 7 1 12 21 38 −17 22
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 20 4 4 12 16 38 −22 16
10 Everton 20 3 3 14 18 44 −26 12
11 Yeovil Town 20 2 1 17 11 60 −49 −3

Yeovil were deducted ten points.  Our review of last season is here

Arsenal are considered to be the favourites for this coming season, if nothing else than for the fact that surely the injuries won’t be so bad as last time, and the manager is clearly working on a plan that is only half complete.

We also have newcomers in the league including Manchester United who are expected to do quite well because they are throwing money at the squad, West Ham who we play in the opening game, and Tottenham, promoted for the first time from the second division.

Andrew managed to get an exclusive interview with Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro last season which is very much worth reading if you missed it first time around.    The point about Joe is that he used tactics to win through, famously saying that the positional layout of players  in a diagram is just for journalists and has nothing to do with how his team plays.

As for this season, obviously the arrival of Tottenham in the league, having come second in division two last season, nine points behind the leaders Manchester United gives us a local derby and hopefully a big crowd for the occasion.

“Our football’s more about midfielders getting forward than ‘hold-up’ strikers,” Joe said recently in an interview with the Guardian.  “It’s very difficult to track runners from deep and differing midfield combinations so we don’t play with two sixes who just sit. We rotate and our number 10s play as eights; it’s quite fluid.”

Interestingly, despite the arrival of Manchester United, the women’s super league remains primarily a southern based league, just as the original Football League was exclusively for northern and midland clubs, until Woolwich Arsenal joined.  Women’s football now needs the same initiative and drive that Arsenal showed in 1893 by bringing League football to London, in bringing the League to the south.  I wonder if they are up to the task.

Which brings us to the fact that one third of the league is based in London.   And that leads to the point that the main Chelsea interaction with their owner – who is still Roman Abramovich – this summer, was limited to a chat when the squad went on a pre-season trip to Israel.

If Mr A is going to continue to avoid actually visiting Chelsea and watching the games in England, that could in the long term be a disaster for the club as a whole.  With their new stadium cancelled and the club unable to sign any players for the men’s side, they could do with a motivating owner being involved on the ground.

Returning to the issue of Arsenal, a glimpse at last season’s top scorers table shows what lay behind Arsenal’s success.    Four of the players in the top 11 (it should be a ten I know but two players tied for 10th position) play for Arsenal: Miedema, van de Donk, Nobbs and Little.

If there is one thing that could challenge Arsenal’s position however it is the size of the ground and level of support.  There is talk of growing crowds throughout the league, while seven of the 12 clubs in the League have larger grounds than Arsenal, who play at Meadow Park where the capacity is 4502.  The largest ground in the league is at Birkenhead, where Liverpool play.  The capacity is over 16,000.

So there we are.  The game is on TV, or you can go to Boreham Wood’s ground, where Arsenal played some pre-season games and take a peek in person.

14 Replies to “Arsenal v West Ham today: the expectations”

  1. The season kicked off yesterday with a televised Manchester Derby at the main Etihad stadium in front of 31k plus supporters. City were the second best in a first half when United had several good chances. In the second half City became more dominant after scoring the only goal of the match, an absolute beauty by Caroline Weir, at the start of the half.

    There was also a South Coast match between Bristol City and Brighton which was goalless.

    Today Chelsea host Spurs at a sold out Stamford Bridge in a 12:30 kickoff, Birmingham host Everton and Liverpool play Reading in 14:00 matches and we have the last game of the weekend at 14:30 against West Ham.

    Last season we beat West Ham home (4-3) and away (4-2) but they probably gave us our toughest games apart from Chelsea and City who inflicted our only league defeats of the season.

    On the injury front we have already lost Dani Carter for the season (she suffered an ACL in the Emirates Cup match against Bayern – it is the same knee as the ACL that kept her out for the vast majority of last season). Jordan Nobbs is nearing full fitness from her ACL ans should make the bench, Vivianne Miedema missed the last Netherlands match with a tight hamstring and may not make the starting 11, Lia Walti is still recovering from a long term injury as is Tabea Kemme. Finally goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin has a minor niggle but should be fit enough to make the bench.

    My starting 11

    GK – Manuela Zinsberger (Austria)
    Back 4 – Katrin Vene (Denmark), Leah Williamson (England), Louise Quinn (Republic of Ireland), Emma Mitchell (Scotland’s
    MF – Kim Little (c) (Scotland), Jill Rood (Netherlands), Danielle Van de Donk (Netherlands)
    Attack – Katie McCabe (Republic of Ireland), Beth Mead (England), Lisa Evans (Scotland)

    I’m going to the game so will try and post some updates in the comments as the game progresses and will have a match report later.

  2. The FA have launched a live stream for all WSL matches alternatively there is an mobile app available from the IOS and Google Play app stores.

  3. Half time and Arsenalare two nil up, the first by Beth Mead, the second by Jill Roord following a cross put in from the right by Lisa Evans a da set up by Beth Mead.

  4. LiveScore has at least some information on WSL games.

    Beth’s goal came 14m, and Jill’s at 41m.

    They do not say who the referee is, give commentary or show statistics. But, it is a start I suppose.

  5. Arsenal won 2-1

    Today’s results

    Chelsea Women 1 Tottenham Hotspur Women 0
    Birmingham City Women 0 Everton Ladies 1
    Liverpool Women 0 Reading Women 1

    Man City 1 Man U 0
    Bristol City 0 Brighton and HA 0

  6. Referee was Stacey Pearson.

    Arsenal had 56% possession.
    Shots were 15(5):9(4)
    Corners 5:2
    Fouls 6:14


    I believe before the Arsenal game had started, the total attendance this weekend at WSL games was over 50,000. I suspect Meadow Park was probably close to full? So, possibly 54,000 for combined attendance?

  7. now has a write-up on the game. WestHam had a write-up on the game shortly after the game finished. And the local Islington Gazette has had a write-up on the game for an hour or so. The other usual suspects do as well.

  8. Thanks Gord. Full time Arsenal two West Ham one. Arsenal much the better in the first half, West Ham in the second.

    Sorry, thought I had posted this at the train station – obviously not!

  9. Were the officials tilting the field? The BBC said the game ended in a scrappy manner, so I assume this is when StateAid got most of their fouls.

    And with 1 weekend of play in the books, the Spuds are in last place. 🙂

  10. There were 31,200 or so to see Man$ity play. There were 24,500 or so to watch Chel$ea play. So those 2 games this weekend were 56,000 people. Arsenal had 2,000 at Meadow Park.

  11. From the Washington Post (and other sources)

    Chel$ea distributed 40,000 tickets, to have 24,500 attend.

    1795 at Meadow Park.

    Everton had 873 fans.

    62,921 was the total attendance.

  12. So the idiot fan base who think we are progressing under Emery are happy to play a draw at the Emirates which we won last time out under Wenger’s boys convincingly 5-2 with Deano incharge as well. And now we see that with Emery boys we couldn’t even fight against our most bitter rivals and managed an unconvincing draw. Where is the will? Where is the passion?where is the fire? If we can’t surpass a poor Spurs at home we wouldn’t be able to overcome lesser opponents as the season progresses. That is for sure.
    We are in a negative spiral under Emery.
    Wake up Untolders .We need Wenger back.

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