by Andrew Crawshaw
The match kicks off at 15:00 Saturday and will be streamed live by arsenal.com – at least it will if they have sorted out the technical difficulties that beset the coverage of the game against Okzhptes on Wednesday.
As our European coefficient (27.7) is higher than that of PSV Eindhoven (12.0) we are listed as the home side despite the game being held in Russia. I don’t believe that we have ever played PSV before so there is no head to head analysis available.
It is a game we should win, although PSV will undoubtedly present more of a threat than Okzhpetes who rarely ventured into our final third and indeed only had 15% possession throughout the game.
Their goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal is well known to us having spent fours year under previous managers Pedro Losa and Joe Montemurro. As with most Netherlands clubs their best players tend to be signed by bigger european clubs, so apart from Sari I have no first hand knowledge of their players In their forwards they have Amalie Thestrup the Danish International who scored 4 goals for Liverpool in 17 starts last season, Jeslynn Kuipers who has scored 10 goals for them in the last three seasons and Naomi Pattiwael who scored 5 goals last season along with a number of youngsters. In their Wednesday game they beat hosts Locomotiv Moscow by 3 goals to 1with goals from Brugts an 18 year old striker, defender Waldus and Thestrup.
I now know the reason that our defender Lotte Wubben-Moy had to be substituted in the first half on Wednesday – she suffered a cut head in a clash and had to leave the field for stitches. The manager made the sensible decision to make an immediate substitution rather than play with ten men whilst the doctors did their work. She should be available for this game if needed but it would be preferable (in my opinion) for her to stay on the bench if possible. Jen Beattie is said to be fit to start and probably will with Anna Patten also available if necessary to provide cover.
Our Australian trio – Steph Catley at full back, Caitlin Foord (attack) and goalkeeper Lydia Williams are all available to start. I would start Catley, but keep Foord and Williams on the bench. I would expect Foord to come on at some time should our attack need freshening up. She came on on Wednesday replace Miedema and very nearly scored, the keeper making a good save to deny her.
Mana Iwabuchi had a fantastic game on Wednesday and will certainly retain her starting place. It is difficult to tell if she is an attacker or an attacking midfielder, she flits effortlessly between the two roles as the game progresses. She opened her Arsenal goal tally with a beauty when just about everyone thought she was going to make a pass. Our coaches say that they are surprised at some of her passes as they go in a teammate in a different direction to the obvious pass.
The one player who had a relatively quiet game midweek was Vivianne Miedema, she was industrious, provided the assist for Mana but missed a few opportunities to score that she would normally bury. I expect her to find her scoring boots against her compatriots.
My predicted Arsenal lineup
Catley, Beattie, Boye Sørensen, Maritz
Maanum, Iwabuchi, Little
Parris, Miedema, Mead
Subs – Williams (GK), Cull (GK), Wubben-Moy, Patten, McCabe, Foord, Goldie (plus anyone else in the traveling party I’ve forgotten).
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