Arsenal travel to Bristol City as they look to continue their perfect start to the season and preserve their place at the top of the WSL. The statistics tell their own story for the high flying Gunners, who have scored at least four goals in each of their WSL matches. Reading had only conceded once in their first four games prior to the 6-0 battering they suffered at Meadow Park on Sunday.
The goal difference speaking for itself. +24 after 5 games. pic.twitter.com/acrVm2fNl5
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) October 22, 2018
When Arseblog News spoke to Vivianne Miedema after that game (fresh from her third hat trick in seven games), she spoke about Arsenal’s tactical flexibility and the refreshing mix of humility and confidence Arsenal have shown this season. Having a striker like Miedema is certainly helpful with 12 goals from her 6 starts. 86% of her shots have been on target this season.
🇳🇱 @viviannemiedema's season so far 🎯
3️⃣ hat-tricks #WeAreTheArsenal 🔴
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 23, 2018
But Bristol have shown improvement compared to last season, having held Chelsea and Manchester City to draws in this campaign already (they led City 2-0 before drawing 2-2). In Sophie Baggaley they have one of the best goalkeepers in the WSL too. The Gunners will need another serious, focused performance to uphold the form book at Stoke Gifford.
Kim Little, Dan Carter, Viki Schnaderbeck and Tabea Kemme are all out with knee injuries. In terms of rotation, Louise Quinn and Jess Samuelsson could come in, having sat out the last two games on the substitutes’ bench. It’s increasingly difficult to predict how Joe will line his team up. As he told the site earlier this week, he likes a flexible, multi-disciplined squad. He opted to move to three at the back against Reading, we’ll have to wait and see what he has planned for Bristol.
It's no wonder Arsenal Women are unbeaten and top of the League with performances like this 👌
Posted by The FA Women's Super League on Monday, 22 October 2018
LAST TIME OUT
Perhaps as a portent of things to come at the start of this WSL campaign, the Gunners ran out 6-1 winners at Bristol back in May in the final game of the 2017-18 league season, Danielle van de Donk helped herself to two goals, with Kim Little, Leah Williamson, Beth Mead and Katie McCabe getting in on the act too.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Sari van Veenendaal picked up a knock in pre-season, which opened the door for Pauline Peyraud-Magnin to start the season in goal. Van Veenendaal has since recovered, but has not been able to wrestle the gloves off the French goalkeeper who arrived from Lyon this summer. In his post Reading assessment on Arsenal.com, Joe Montemurro indicated that Pauline’s ability with her feet has added a new dimension to the team.
“We have a goalkeeper now who’s very, very good with distribution so she’s the extra player going forward and that’s very important. That allows us a defender to step into midfield or an extra player to step into midfield to give us those overloads, so it’s all about creating an extra player in the situation and moving forward from there.”
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match kicks off at 3pm on Sunday and will be streamed live on the FAWSL Facebook page. But if you’d like to go to the game, it will be played at Stoke Gifford Stadium and tickets are available on the door at £8 for adults and £2 for U-12s.
Back at the @sgs_college Stoke Gifford Stadium this coming weekend! 🙌
🆚 🔝 of the table @ArsenalWFC
— Bristol City WFC (@bristolcitywfc) October 22, 2018
I won’t be at Bristol on Sunday, so there won’t be player reaction from the game, but there will be the usual Weekly Round-Up on Monday, a full match preview of the Birmingham City home match on the site next Friday, with player reaction on Sunday evening. In the meantime, why not enjoy our interview with manager Joe Montemurro on his new contract here.