Arsenal Women travel to Bristol City for the final day of the WSL campaign on Sunday needing to better Manchester City’s result at home to Everton to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Montemurro’s squad sit 1 point behind 2nd placed City, which is remarkable considering they trailed the top 2 places by ten points when Montemurro arrived in December.
Arsenal kept their hopes alive with a 2-0 win over Sunderland on Wednesday evening, with goals from Kim Little and Player of the Season Beth Mead. Ordinarily, one would expect City to comfortably beat Everton at home, but their recent form makes a draw a possibility, albeit a slim one. But the Gunners need to keep their eyes on the prize in the West Country on Sunday.
Bristol can finish no higher than 8th and have little to play for, but recent slip ups away at Yeovil and Birmingham ought to keep the Gunners focused. Arsenal academy graduate Carla Humphrey will hope to start against her former club, whilst 17 year old Lauren Hemp has been a revelation in the WSL this season, winning the Young Player of the Year award. It seems inevitable that she will end up playing for one of ‘the big 3’ soon enough.
WATCH: Arsenal Women scored twice against Sunderland A.F.C. Ladies to keep their Champions League hopes alive! ?
Goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal was missing from the squad for the trip to Sunderland in midweek- there is no information about the reasons for this. (This is common in the women’s game, where there is far less coverage, it is easier to conceal likely team selections from opponents). If Sari is unavailable again, Anna Moorhouse will deputise in goal.
Alex Scott has played for the club for the last time, while Josy Henning, Lauren James and Anna Filbey are unavailable. Vivianne Miedema will have a fitness check on an ankle injury that has dogged her all season, while Jessica Samuelsson could also make the squad as she continues to recover from a long term foot injury.
LAST TIME OUT
The teams played out a 1-1 draw at Meadow Park back in October in a game that proved to be Pedro Losa’s last in charge. Lauren Hemp gave Bristol a shock lead with a curling strike. Danielle van de Donk scored a second half equaliser, but the Gunners could not force the win. It proved to be the last straw for Losa after a disappointing start to the season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jordan Nobbs committed her long term future to the club this week, she has once again gone from strength to strength this season. Jordan really is the all-round midfielder with a bit of everything in her locker. She is the heartbeat of the Gunners team, setting the tempo with her all action displays.
Jordan always, always touches the ball more than any other Arsenal player and she will again be crucial in helping to set the tone against Bristol and take the game to the hosts. Her relationship with Kim Little in the middle of the park is beginning to blossom with Danielle van de Donk pushed into a slightly wider role in recent matches.
— Jordan Nobbs (@JordanNobbs8) May 16, 2018
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
Errrrrm, usually BT Sport televise the final day, but it doesn’t seem like there are any plans to do so this year and WSL have made no update whatsoever about any potential coverage (via BBC Sport, BT Sport or Facebook). I will update if the situation changes, but at the moment, it looks like there will be no coverage of this game, other than via the @ArsenalWFC feed.
We will have some exclusive player reaction immediately after the game here on Arseblog News and we will also be catching up with Jordan Nobbs about her new contract in another exclusive interview. Also stay tuned for an article on Arsenal Women founder Vic Akers in the coming weeks.
Photo courtesy of Kunjan Malde.