Arsenal face Liverpool Ladies on Tuesday night fresh from one of the most disappointing league results in their history. Yeovil collected their first WSL point just a week ago and have still yet to score a goal this season, but managed to hold the Gunners to a hugely disappointing 0-0 draw which leaves their hopes of Champions League qualification hanging by a thread.
Having fought so hard to glimpse the coat tails of the top 2, to have lost ground by drawing with the division’s weakest side is a sizeable setback. Arsenal are also left to contend with further defensive injuries, as Leah Williamson hobbled out of Saturday’s match in Somerset with a muscular injury, which must throw her participation in the FA Cup Final into some doubt.
Emma Mitchell missed Saturday’s match with an ankle problem, while Josy Henning and Jessica Samuelsson are out with long term injuries. Arsenal must decide between an academy prospect like Shannon Cooke- yet to make her full debut- or defensive midfielder Dominique Janssen to fill in at centre half. The latter seems a more likely option. Sari van Veenendaal should return in goal after being rested against Yeovil, Lauren James and Anna Filbey are out.
Arsenal defeated Liverpool 3-0 in the reverse fixture in February, a game made memorable by Dominique Janssen’s outstanding strike from distance. But the visitors have caused Arsenal issues at Boreham Wood in recent years. Jess Clarke looks set to miss out for the Reds, which is a relief as her pace on the flank often causes the Gunners problems. Beyond that, the obvious dangers for Liverpool are Bethany England and ex-Gunner Caroline Weir.
Say whaaaat! @DominiqueJansse ??
— The FA WSL (@FAWSL) February 7, 2018
Weir is an international teammate of Kim Little, Lisa Evans and Emma Mitchell and she possesses a fierce shot from distance, her left foot also has more creative talents too. Bethany England has been a revelation since joining on loan from Chelsea, reinventing herself as a clinical forward. She is the second top scorer in the WSL with 9 goals so far this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Beth Mead is Arsenal’s top scorer so far this season and she is the division’s second most accurate shooter with Karen Carney. 73% of her 22 shots have been on target this season. Mead made her name playing through the middle at Sunderland, but has proved herself as an excellent wide forward for the Gunners, with Vivianne Miedema leading the line.
Beth Mead Scores Goal to level the score at 1 – 1, Video courtesy of: BBC Sport, FA Women's Super League 1 #womensfootball #FAWSL #WSUlive #soccer #football #WeAreTheArsenal @bmeado9 @Jmeado9 @JordanNobbs8 pic.twitter.com/UXuCaGpxTL
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) April 1, 2018
Mead has adjusted her game and shown a proclivity towards taking players on and cutting inside to create angles for shots. Her solo goal against Chelsea recently demonstrated the perfect marriage of a striker’s appetite with a winger’s thrust. She has been able to forge partnerships with the likes of Dan Carter and Miedema and has probably been Arsenal’s outstanding player this season.
1.v.VEENENDAAL, 18.EVANS, 20.JANSSEN, 16.QUINN, 15.McCABE, 21.VAN DE DONK, 8.NOBBS, 10.LITTLE (c), 17.O’REILLY, 9.CARTER, 23.MEAD. Substitutes; 2.Scott, 11.Miedema, 13.Moorhouse, 26.Kuyken, 28.Ngunga, 29.Cooke.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match takes place at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park and kicks off at 7.30pm. Tickets are available on the gate at £12 adults or £6 concessions. The match is also being streamed live on the FAWSL Facebook page.
Check back after the game for match reaction from one of the Arsenal squad and, later this week, an exclusive interview with Gunners winger and USWNT Legend Heather O’Reilly.