by Andrew Crawshaw
I nearly got the team right. Wälti was out following a minor knock and Nikita Parris made her debut playing on the left of a front three and fellow debutant Iwabuchi dropping into midfield.
Starts for all four of our new arrivals and, as predicted, seats on the bench for our Australian trio.
Patten, Wubben-Moy, Boye Sørensen, McCabe
Little, Maanum, Iwabuchi
Parris, Miedema, Mead
Subs – Williams GK), Cull (GK), Patten (23 for Wubben Moy), Beattie (62 for Maanum), Catley (62 for Little), Foord (62 for Miedema) and Goldie (76 for Matitz)
Viassova, Koziyeva, Kamdem, Kuztay
Satygaliyeva, Karazhanova, Amangeldy, Mbengono
Subs – Khokhlova (GK), Orazbekover (GK) Muskshova (53 for Karazhanova), Khachatryan (74 for Kuztay), Prokhorova, Aitmukhanover, Orynbassarova
The match was played at the Lokomotiv Moscow arena, the first of three in the first round of the League path of qualifying. PSV Eindhoven playing Locomotiv in a 17:00 kickoff. The two winners meet on Saturday, as do the two losers (to gain coefficient points towards future competitions).
On paper this was a game we should win easily (but then so was the Men’s game against Brentford) and we all know what happened then.
The match was scheduled to be broadcast live on arsenal.com but at kickoff there was no picture (or explanation why). Picture and sound eventually came live midway through the first half by which time we were two goals to nil ahead and had made a substitution with Wubben-Moy having to be replaced by Anna Patten.
All I know about the first quarter of the game is :-
Min 14 Mana Iwabuchi scored from an assist by Beth Mead
Min 18 Kim Little scored from the penalty spot
Min 23 Arsenal substitution in defence with Lotte Wubben-Moy being replaced by Anna Patten
Eventually the broadcast became live but again no explanation as to what had caused the delay. The Commentary was thorough although rather flat in delivery and at no time did I see or hear a recap of the missing first quarter of the game. Hopefully arsenal.com will be able to fill in some details later, but I’m not holding out much hope as their coverage of the Women’s games is sketchy at best. The official team list hasn’t yet included Iwabuchi for example.
Here are my notes from the remainder of the game :-
Min 35 No further goals. Arsenal in full control. Two misses from Miedema where she ought to have done better.
Arsenal 87% possession nearing the end of the first half. 5 minutes of added time.
Min 54. Little the latest to nearly make it three nil then Mead has a shot saved by the keeper but ruled offside
Min 62. Foord, Beattie, Catley coming on. Little, Miedema and Maanum. Foord with an immediate chance through one on one against the keeper who saved with her feet
65 minutes Mead sweeps home from a Parris cross three nil
Min74 Nikita Parris makes it Four nil. 17 year old Goldie comes on fot Maritz.
Into time added on and Patten so nearly made it five. A stinging shot parried onto the post comes back out
Arsenal absolutely dominated the game with something like 85% possession and I can’t recall a really threatening attack by Okzeptes. It looked and felt rather like a training gage against lower league opposition. Arsenal were clearly not altogether on the same wavelength and our strikers radar was off target too often. The scoreline could and should have been far higher.
In mitigation, this was the first time that new Head Coach Thomas Eidevall was in the dugout and his stated style of play is somewhat different to that in place under Joe Montemurro so there is a learning curve across the whole team. Plus the players who started had never played a non friendly game together with four players having their first competitive start.
Walter made a comment that Iwabuchi looks a great player… nice close control, good eye for the movement around her, quick feet… As ever Walter your eyes weren’t deceiving you. We have been trying to signer for several years and, I understand) had agreed a transfer before the Japanese federation prevented their players from moving abroad in the run-ip to the Olympics before it was deferred. In January she signed a short term contract with Aston Villa from whom we rescued her. She will undoubtedly be a great addition to the team.
I was also impressed by Maanum who put in a real shift and showed the kind of strength that we will need against tougher opposition. At the back Boye Sørensen was composed at all times and was ably supported by Anna Patten. It was good to see Jen Beattie getting a half hour at the end of the match making her long awaited return to the pitch following her battle against Cancer.
Tougher tests await but this was a great way to get minutes in a match that mattered but where we ultimately outclassed our opponents. In anyone’s book a Four Nil win isn’t to be sniffed at
Note to arsenal.com – you wouldn’t have allowed this shambolic presentation of a Game in a Men’s match. You really need to do a much better job in your coverage of the Women.
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