Arsenal Women – January 2022 Preview

by Andrew Crawshaw

This coming Sunday 09 January sees the resumption on the Women’s Super League, where We are, as yet undefeated.

Here is the current table

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Arsenal 9 8 1 0 30 3 27 25
2 Chelsea 9 7 0 2 27 6 21 21
3 Tottenham Hotspur 10 6 2 2 2 7 5 20
4 Manchester United 10 5 3 2 19 13 6 18
5 Brighton and Hove 9 5 0 4 2 9 3 15
6 Manchester City 9 4 1 4 9 8 1 13
7 West Ham United 9 3 4 2 12 11 1 13
8 Reading 9 4 1 4 11 2 -1 13
9 Everton 10 3 2 5 9 16 -7 11
10 Aston Villa 10 3 1 6 6 22 -6 10
11 Leicester City 10 1 0 9 5 23 -18 3
12 Birmingham City 10 0 1 9 4 26 -22 1

Unlike in the Men’s game the Women got a break over Christmas which I expect was much appreciated by our players who were looking significantly jaded in December.  Our last scheduled WSL game was due to be on December 19th against Brighton but that match was postponed and, to date, a revised date isn’t been released.  Our last league game was on 12 December and our last Champions League match was on the 15th December.  We will therefore have had a break of just over three weeks.

We really couldn’t ask for a better match to restart as we play Birmingham City who are currently propping up the table winless in their opening 10 matches.  It is therefore a match that we should expect to win comfortably.  The match is at St Andrew’s Stadium and kicks off at 14:00.  It is being shown live on the FA Player and should provide a nice ‘entree’ to the Men’s FA Cup game against Nottingham Forest kicking off at 17:10.

The other scheduled WSL games this weekend are :-

Friday 7 January

Chelsea v Spurs 19:00 on Sky Sports (Main Event and Premier League)  Spurs are the only team we failed to beat so far domestically.  They achieved this by parking a bus in front of a train in front of their goal which we failed to break down.  They will almost almost certainly use the same tactics again and rely on their speedy forwards to score a goal on the break.  I would like to see this match end in a draw but suspect that Chelsea will bully their way to a win.

Saturday 8 January

Aston Villa v Everton 12:30 Live on the FA Player  Both these teams are pretty secure from relegation, they both average about one goal every two games and concede two a game.  My bet would be a draw, probably 1 – 1 or possibly 2 – 2

Sunday 9 January

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester City 12:00 on the BBC Red Button.  Man City have been the biggest disappointment of the season so far.  With the talent they have in their squad they are bound to start winning games soon and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them overtake Brighton with a win.

Reading v Leicester City 14:00 on the FA Player.  This should be a win for Reading although Leicester will be looking to build on their deserved 2 – 0 win last time out against bottom team and relegation rivals Birmingham.  It will probably be the result of the reverse fixture against Birmingham that will decide which of Leicester or Birmingham will get relegated.

West Ham United v Manchester United.  18:45 on Sky Sports Premier League.  With 5 wins this season against 3, I can’t see West Ham winning.  I’m sure if offered a draw today West Ham would take it, I think Man United will have too much of an attacking threat and will win, but I think West Ham will also score.

In the other competitions that we are in we are now the only English team in the quarter final of the Champions League.  We have home and away matches against VfL Wolfsburg in March

We start our participation in the Continental Tyres Cup  knockout stage with a home tie against Manchester United on 15 January  Kick-off is 9:15 and tickets are now on sale   We were exempt form the group stage by virtue of being in the Champions League and so went straight through to the quarter final stage,

Having lost to Chelsea in the final of the 2021 FACup final in December, we start our campaign in the 2022 competition on Sunday 30 January with a home tie against London City Lionesses.  The game kicks off at 15:00.  Tickets are available here.  The Lionesses are a Championship side and currently sit third with six wins out of their 10 matches.  It would be a major upset were we to lose this match.

In other news Anna Patten, one of our young defenders is going on loan to Aston Villa for the rest of the season.  She has been with the club since the age of 12.  She spent three  years in the USA studying for a degree before returning to the club in 2021.  With more senior players ahead of her at Arsenal and without the intensity of games that we had in the first half of the season, the move should provide her with a better chance of game time.  She is already a very assured player, I hope she has a good loan spell before coming back to fight for a starter slot next season.

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