by Andrew Crawshaw
The FA had a problem with last season’s Women’s FA Cup. The pandemic caused a cessation of all non-elite level sport at a time when the early rounds featuring non-elite teams would have been taking part. Like the men’s FA Cup the competition is open to all clubs affiliated to the FA at both amateur and professional levels with the fully professional Elite teams only entering in the later stages of the competition. The games up to the quarter finals were played on the resumption of sport but the quarter, semi and final games have been carried over to this season.
The quarter finals are being played this evening, with one exception all teams are in the premier division the WSL (the figure in brackets is their current league position):-
19:00 – Brighton (5) v Charlton Athletic (Championship 6)
19:00 – Man City (8) v Leicester (10)
19:15 – Arsenal (1) v Spurs (2)
19:30 – Birmingham (12) v Chelsea (4)
Brighton are clear favourites in the first match there being a full division between the two clubs.
Man City surely can’t be as bad again as they were at the weekend when we thrashed them 5 – 0. This was their third defeat in a row in all competitions following their loss against Spurs (due to an obvious handball not being spotted by any of the match officials despite clearly caught by the TV cameras), Real Madrid in the Champions League second round and ourselves. If they don’t play better though an upset could be on the cards.
Chelsea are unbeaten since the first game of the season when we beat them and are odds on to win this one against bottom of the WSL Birmingham who are yet to win this season and have only scored one goal. Chelsea have scored 10 in their last two games.
Without doubt the standout tie of the round is our match against Spurs. We are both unbeaten since the commencement of the season. In the WSL both of us have a maximum nine points. The main difference is in goal scoring. We have a record of scored 12, conceded 2 whilst Spurs are 4 – 1. We played Spurs in one of our pre-season friendly games and won 4 – 0 which was a fairly typical score over the past couple of seasons. If we can play with anything like our normal attacking efficiency then we should be able to outscore them once again.
The game is at Meadow Park, Borehamwood and tickets will be available on the gate (£12 or £8 concessions) or through arsenal.com – https://www.arsenal.com/tickets/women/2021-Sep-29/tottenham-hotspur-women
The match is also being shown live on BBC4 with coverage starting at 19:00. Outside the UK it will also be on the FA Player App. If you are interested in UK Women’s football and haven’t already done so you really ought to set up a free account with the FA to pick up this service https://faplayer.thefa.com. The camera angles and commentaries aren’t always as professional as the main broadcasters but they do have full live coverage of all WSL games that aren’t being broadcast by the big broadcasters and you can pick up coverage of past games as well.
What should we expect from this game?
Spurs have played in a 3 – 4 – 3 formation this season and have been resolute in defence only conceding one goal so far. Their attack is less proficient and they have won their games 1 – 0, 2 – 1 and 1 – 0 so they have hardly been prolific in attack.
On Sunday their lineup was (Nationality English unless stated):-
Asmita Ale, Molly Bartrip, Selina Zadorski (can)
Rachel Williams, Maéva Clemaron (Fra), Chioma Ubogagu, Ashleigh Neville
Kit Graham, Ria Percival (NZ), Jessica Naz
Korpela (GK) (Fin), Morgan (Wal), Harrop , Green, So-hyun (Kor), Ayane
Arsenal have a far more cosmopolitan squad with most being full internationals
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Manuela Zinsberger (Aut), 18.Lydia Williams (Aus), 28.Cull
DEFENDERS: 3.Lotte Wubben-Moy, 4.Anna Patten, 5.Jen Beattie (Sco), 6.Leah Williamson, 7.Steph Catley (Aus), 16.Noëlle Maritz (Swi), 22.Viktoria Schnaderbeck (Aut), 29.Teyah Goldie
MIDFIELDERS: 8.Jordan Nobbs, 10.Kim Little (Sco), 12.Frida Maanum (Nor), 13.Lia Wälti (Swi), 23.Mana Iwabuchi (Jap)
FORWARDS: 9.Beth Mead, 11.Vivianne Miedema (Nl), 14.Nikita Parris, 15.Katie McCabe (Irl), 19.Caitlin Foord (Aus), 77.Tobin Heath (USA)
Simone Boye Sørensen (Den) , Malin Gut (Swi)
It is likely that we will see a degree of squad rotation for this game with a WSL game on Saturday away against Aston Villa (who are currently third in the table) and a Champions league match next Tuesday away against reigning champions Barcelona where we will certainly need to be at full strength.
I would expect Lydia Williams to get the nod in goal to ensure her match sharpness. In defence I would expect Lotte Wubben-Moy to start alongside Leah Williamson in Central defence with Jen Beattie on the bench Anna Patten could also get a start at full back. In Midfield, Frida Maanum has (I think) played just about every minute of the season so far and may well be due a night off. Up front Foord, Iwabuchi and Parris look to be likely starters behind Miedema (who all being well should only be needed for the first 60 minutes or so).
Catley, Wubben-Moy, Williamson, patten
Foord, Iwabuchi, Parris
This is a competition that Arsenal have won a record 14 times, Spurs have never reached the final. Let’s hope that this game goes according to the form book and we have a relatively comfortable win this evening.
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