by Andrew Crawshaw
The first two quarter finals were played yesterday evening and went pretty much as I expected. Glasgow City were overwhelmed by Wolfsburg losing by 9 – 1 and Athletico lost a very tight match against Barcelona 1 – 0.
Athletico arrived with a very truncated squad having had 6 players test positive for Covid and only being able to train in the 5 days leading up to the match so it was little surprise that they weren’t able to offer anything of a threat going forward, instead concentrating on being resolute in defence and giving nothing away to Barcelona. This they did for over 80 minutes before a minor lapse in concentration gave Barcelona one of their only clear chances which they took.
So the first semi final is between Wolfsburg and Barcelona, the champions of Germany and Spain.
Tonight sees Bayern Munich take on the French Champions Lyon and in the last quarter final We play the PSG who finished second in the reach League to Lyon.
Lyon, as I said in my competition preview, have been the No 1 Women’s team in Europe for a number of years and are the current Champions League holders. It will be a surprise if they fail to win this fixture (although they certainly won’t win by anything like the 9 – 1 that Wolfsburg achieved yesterday). I would think there will be a two goal margin to Lyon but I would expect Bayern to score.
That quick roundup brings me to our match against PSG.
A few squad updates first.
- Australian goalkeeper Lydia Williams is ruled out with an ankle injury she picked up in pre-season training. She has had surgery on it and will not play for several weeks. Fran Stenson will therefore act as backup goalkeeper and will not go out on loan.
- Squad No 30 – 16 year old defender Ruby Mace has travelled to Spain. She had a great season with our development squad and this trip is a reward for the effort she has put in. She will be on the bench and unlikely to play but being with the squad and training with them will greatly enhance her development.
- Squad No 27 – Midfielder Melisa Filis is another youngster who made the travelling squad and will sit on the bench although is unlikely to get game time. She is now 18 and has made four first team starts mostly against lower league opposition and has scored 4 goals including a hat-trick against London Bees in the Continental Tyres Cup.
- Malin Gut has travelled but I don’t think she is yet regarded as being match fit.
PSG are currently the perennial runners up to Lyon in France and lost the cup final to them a couple of weeks ago; a game which at least gives them some proper match practice.
Arsenal have played three pre-season friendlies, winning all of them without conceding a goal. Interestingly all three matches finished with penalty shootouts in an obvious nod to this competition where extra time and penalties wait if matches are level after 90 and 120 minutes.
This match is between two evenly matched teams who both like play attractive possession based attacking football. I can’t see there being more than a one or two goal winning margin between them and expect to see a good game of football, not the attack v defence of the Spanish game yesterday or the one sided game between Glasgow and Wolfsburg. The game will be won by small margins, moments of brilliance or mistakes.
It is a game well within our ability to win providing we play our usual game to our strengths. If Miedema is ‘on song’ then a two goal win in 90 minutes, if PSG keep her quiet then I would expect a far more edgy affair going to extra time.
I would expect our starting line up to be :-
GK – Manuela Zinsberger
Centre backs – Jennifer Beattie and Leah Williamson
Full backs – Steph Catley and Leonie Mayer
Midfield – Lia Walti, Kim Little and Jordan Nobbs
Forwards – Danielle Van de Donk, Vivianne Miedema and Caitlin Foord.
Bench – Fran Stenson (GK), Beth Mead, Jill Roord, Katie McCabe, Noelle Maritz, Lisa Evans, Viki Schnaderbeck, Melisa Filis, Ruby Mace
The game is at the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastian and the match officials are
- Referee: Esther Staubli (Suitzerland)
- Assistants: Susann Küng (Switzerland) and Guadalupe Porras Ayuso (Spain)
- Fourth Official: Jana Adámková (Czech)
The match is on BT Sport 1HD with the broadcast starting at 18:30, kickoff is at 19:00.
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