by Andrew Crawshaw
The first thing I want to say is that at least this game will not have match officials from the PGMO. I expect this game to be refereed in a competent fashion without the bizarre decisions we say in the WSL match on Saturday.
Here is the current league table in our group of the last 16 in the Champions League
|3||TSG 1989 Hoffenheim||3||1||0||2||5||8||-3||3|
A reminder that the top two in each group proceed to the quarter-final knock-out stage so we are currently well placed to progress.
The second half of the group matches contain the reverse fixtures from the third games so we are at home to Köge and Hoffenhein are at home to Barcelona. The initial fixtures saw us beat Köge 5 – 1 and Barcelona beat Hoffenheim 4 – 0. It will be something of a surprise if the results are any different this week. The real test for us will be our home game against Barcelona where we need to be better than we were in the group opener when we lost 4 – 1.
This week’s game is this Wednesday evening at Meadow Park Borehamwood with a 20:00 kickoff. Tickets are available from arsenal.com and will also be available on the gate. The game will also be shown worldwide on the DAZN Women’s channel and almost certainly that footage will be carried on the Arsenal Player at Arsenal.com.
With the level of player rotation being used by our Coach, Jonas Eidevall. it is difficult to predict exactly which players he will start with, but using the last two games as a guide I would hazard a guess that it will look something like :-
Noelle Maritz, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Simone Bøye Sorensen, Katy McCabe
Lia Wälti. Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs
Beth Mead, Viv Miedema, Nikita Parris
Bench – Zinsberger, Williamson, Patten, Goldie, Catley, Maanum, Iwabuchi, Foord, Heath.
I would be very surprised if Köge play in a different manner from last week, although I would hope that they might be a little more adventurous than a back five with a defensive four and a lone striker upfield.
They look to play on the counter-attack relying on quick runners from midfield and wing back when they have an opportunity. That is how they caught us out last week for their only goal of this stage of the competition so far.
The risk from their point of view is that if they play a looser defence we will hurt them from all over the pitch. Their view is that this group phase is predominantly a learning exercise that will pay dividends in future seasons. They are leading their domestic league again this season and are odds-on getting into the Champions League again next season where they will hope to be more than the minnows in a group.
If we play anywhere near our potential then I can’t see this being anything other than a win by at least a three-goal margin, but it might take us a while to break down their defensive block.
I will be at the game and will try to provide updates as the game progresses.
Here are links to highlights of our first three group games to get you in the mood.
- Are Arsenal really making progress, or are we starting to slip back?
- Luton 3 Arsenal 4: maybe it is time to say positive things
- Luton v Arsenal – the referee, the team, Saka and Cliff Bastin
- Luton Town – how do they play the game. The tackles, fouls and cards.
- Luton Town v Arsenal: Grim football, fewest goals, lowest possession rate