by Andrew Crawshaw
Before I talk about the game I wish to add Untold’s congratulations to Beth Mead who was the runner up in the Balon D’Or poll on Monday, she lost out by a single vote to Barcelona’s Alexia Putellas who retained the award.
Tonight Arsenal start their Women’s Champions League group stage matches with the extremely daunting prospect of an away trip to the reigning champions – Lyon. This is the second year running when we have started in this way, last year it was an away trip to Barcelona who Lyon beat 3 – 1 in last year’s final
The game kicks off at 20:00 in Lyon and will be televised live and free of charge on the DAZN YouTube channel. It can be a bit of a pain to find if you go directly to the DAZN site as you will probably be invited to sign up for an account which will involve a payment. If you start through the UEFA site you should get a link to the match without payment. Here is the link that has been given on the Arsenal website
Lyon have been the powerhouse of the Women’s game in Europe for the past 10 years or more, they have one this competition 8 times now. Our record against them in this competition down the years is not good with four defeats and a solitary 0 – 0 draw which came in 2007. To add further emphasis on the scale of the task ahead, Lyon have won 18 of their last 19 CL home games and have only failed to score in one of their last 37 matches (home and away).
Although they have a large number of absentees through injury they will still be able to field a formidable team. Former Gunner and fan favourite Danielle Van de Donk alongside the likes of French Captain Wendie Renard, Lindsey Horan, Melvine Malard, goalkeeper Christine Endlar who won the best FIFA Women’s Goalkeeper award, Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer.
We are without our two starting centre backs and both Brazilian captain Rafaelle Souza and England Captain Leah Williamson are out for several weeks and Teyah Goldie is still recovering from an ACL. It is probable that the youngsters who were in the squad in recent WSL matches will again be on the bench although it would take a catastrophe on the pitch for any to actually get any game time.
Available squad (as listed on the UEFA web site)
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 18.Marckese, 40. Williams
DEFENDERS: 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 26.Wienroither, 62.Reid
MIDFIELDERS: 8.Nobbs, 10.Little, 11.Miedema, 12.Maanum, 13.Wälti, 15.McCabe, 23.Iwabuchi
FORWARDS: 9.Mead, 17.Hurtig, 19.Foord, 25.Blackstenius, 59.Agyemang, 61.Earl
- Naomi Williams is a 17 year old goalkeeper
- Katie Reid is a 16 year old defender who captained the U16 Lionesses in February
- Michelle Agyemang is a 16year old attacker.
- Madison Earl is a 15 year old attacker is included in the squad listing on the UEFA site but has not travelled with the squad
I would expect the same starting 11 as against Brighton last weekend
Katie McCabe, Steph Catley, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Laura Wienroither
Lia Wälti, Kim Little (c)
Caitlin Foord, Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead
This is going to be a daunting test against one of the strongest club sides in the world who must be favourites for the win. The top two teams in the group go through to the quarter finals, the group winners getting one of the other group’s second place teams. It is likely that we will be battling Juventus for second place in the group but should we manage to get any points against Lyon it will make qualification a whole lot easier.
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