NINE IS FINE AS GUNNERS GO DUTCH AGAINST BRIGHTON
Arsenal Women continued their 100% start to the 2018/19 season with a 4-1 win over Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday. Arsenal fell behind on 9 minutes when Ini Umotong powered through the Gunners defence and steered a finish past Sari van Veenendaal.
But Arsenal went Triple Dutch with goals from Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk and Dominique Bloodworth before half time, Beth Mead’s lob in the dying moments added some sheen to another convincing victory for the girls, their ninth on the bounce in the WSL. But the stern challenge of a trip to second placed Manchester City looms on the horizon on Sunday.
With the likes of Jordan Nobbs and Jess Samuelsson added to a lengthy injury list, Joe Montemurro was only able to field 4 substitutes, 3 of whom were academy players. The City game comes at a bad time given how stretched the squad is, with Kim Little still a few weeks from fitness. Arsenal lead City by 6 points at the top of the table and would surely consider a point a strong result in Manchester.
Arsenal Women overcome early scare to extend unbeaten start to their league campaign 🔴
MEAD RELIEVED TO BE BACK ON THE SCORE SHEET
Arsenal striker Beth Mead was relieved to be back among the goals on Sunday, as her late lob sealed the 4-1 victory. With the likes of Nobbs, van de Donk and Miedema on such stunning scoring form, Mead’s relative lack of goals has snuck under the radar somewhat. Her fine finish on Sunday was only her 3rd goal in the WSL this season.
👏 Beautiful finish from @bmeado9 with less than 10 minutes to go at Boreham Wood…
— The FA Women's Super League (@FAWSL) November 25, 2018
“To be fair, it was probably one of my better Arsenal goals so far. I’ll take that any day of the week. I’d take a tap in as I’m struggling at the moment to score goals,” Beth told the FA website. It was a little bit frustrating at the beginning. The pleasing thing was we were making chances but just weren’t finishing them.
“We stuck to our game plan. We know the talent we’ve got in the team and that we can score goals and we kept playing the way we did and eventually we got our goals and got the win we deserved. People keep asking me if my goal was a cross but I actually did mean this one.”
AVA GOES TO GATORS
One of Arsenal’s subs on Sunday, 17 year old Ava Kuyken, will leave the club to play for the Florida Gators on a 4 year scholarship. Deals of this ilk are typical for university age players and, as I wrote back in July, Arsenal are losing a lot of academy talent to the US university system.
This 🐊⚽️come from across the pond 🏴!
— Gators Soccer (@GatorsSoccer) November 23, 2018
Shannon Cooke joined LSU this summer, with fellow centre halves Anna Patten and Lotte Wubben Moy having left for the US in 2017. Given the scholarship opportunities, it is totally understandable that players opt to leave for the states and Arsenal are in discussions with the FA about how they can be better compensated for these transfers.
Ava will join the Florida Gators in 2019, so she will be available for upcoming games against Manchester City, Charlton Athletic and Millwall Lionesses. Her loss is unfortunate, but not altogether surprising. Ava joined Arsenal from Oxford United in 2016, her father is a professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University.
A JESS AND A CURSE
Swedish right-back Jess Samuelsson has suffered another injury on her foot and faces another spell on the sidelines. Jess suffered an incredibly painful injury last October when she collided with Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Landahl and dislocated two metatarsal bones, tearing most of the ligaments in her foot as she did.
Jess made her international comeback against England a fortnight ago, but the joy was short lived as the same foot is injured again. Arsenal are being tight lipped on the severity of the injury, but Samuelsson was pictured wearing a protective boot as she watched her teammates beat Brighton on Sunday.
There will of course be a full match preview for Sunday’s huge game away at Manchester City on the site on Friday afternoon. There will also be some bonus content on Wednesday. I spoke to Scandinavian women’s football expert Katja Kragelund about new signing Janni Arnth, the Danish defender who will join the Gunners from Linkopings in January.
Katja told me, “Janni is a very experienced centre back, who has exceptional leadership qualities and is a model professional. Like most Scandinavian centre backs, she is tough and she also has a good range of passing.” Stay tuned for the full article on Wednesday on Arseblog News.