Arsenal Women resume their WSL campaign after the festive hiatus with a trip to Rush Green to take on Matt Beard’s West Ham United. The Gunners had their lead at the top of the table slashed to 3 points after an injury ravaged side lost 2-0 to second place Manchester City before the break. The girls subsequently went onto secure a Conti Cup quarter-final at home to Birmingham with wins over Charlton and Millwall in the group phase.
Joe Montemurro has replenished the squad with the signings of Danish duo Janni Arnth, a centre half from Linkopings in Sweden and winger Katrine Veje from Montpellier. The Gunners need bodies back desperately given the injury situation, with 6 academy players given their debuts in December alone.
.@ArsenalWFC announced the signing of Danish international defender Janni Arnth from Linkopings last week. So I spoke to Scandinavian women's football expert @applessquabble about what Arsenal can expect from Janni when she joins in January https://t.co/p45FUk6lyF.
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) November 28, 2018
West Ham are on a four game winning streak without conceding as their new look side begins to gel. But Arsenal will offer stiffer opposition than Bristol City, Brighton, Yeovil and Charlton managed. But with experienced campaigners like Gilly Flaherty, Claire Rafferty, Kate Longhurst and Jane Ross, the Irons will be no pushover, as Arsenal discovered in the reverse fixture in September, a narrow 4-3 win at Meadow Park.
— West Ham United Women (@westhamwomen) January 4, 2019
Centre half Janni Arnth is available to make her debut in defence and Katrine Veje is also available. Arsenal will make checks on Kim Little, who has been out for ten weeks with a broken tibia but is back in full training. Kim’s compatriot Emma Mitchell will also be checked on.
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) January 3, 2019
Tabea Kemme and Viki Schnaderbeck are aiming for February returns, while Dan Carter will be closer to the end of the campaign after rupturing her cruciate ligament in May. Jordan Nobbs is out for the season with the same injury. Jess Samuelsson (broken foot) is also out.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Lisa Evans recently extended her contract at the club after arriving from Bayern Munich in 2017. The Scottish wide player has been, in my opinion, the Gunners most underrated performer this season. Playing either as a wing back or a wide forward, on the right and the left, her ability to wriggle to the by-line by hook or by crook is a crucial component of Arsenal’s forward play.
— Lisa Evans (@LisaEvans_17) December 18, 2018
Lisa began to play right-back last season after injury to Jess Samuelsson and she has, almost accidentally, replaced the cut and thrust provided by the departed Alex Scott and Heather O’Reilly. Lisa already has 6 assists this season as a result of her tireless raids down the flanks and into positions where she can provide cut backs for teammates.
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal won a nerve shredding game 4-3 at Boreham Wood, having fallen behind twice to the visitors. A hat trick from Danielle van de Donk, scored from a combined distance of roughly six yards, and a corking strike from Kim Little gave the Gunners a hard fought win. Back in August, the sides met in the Conti Cup group phase, with two goals from Katie McCabe contributing to a 3-1 victory at Meadow Park.
18.PEYRAUD-MAGNIN, 6.WILLIAMSON, 16.QUINN, 4.ARNTH, 17.EVANS, 15.McCABE, 19.WALTI, 7.VAN DE DONK, 20.BLOODWORTH, 23.MEAD, 11.MIEDEMA. Subs: 1.van Veenendaal, 3.Mitchell, 10.Little, 24.Kuyken, 27.Grant, 28.Bayley-Gayle.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match is played on Sunday at West Ham’s Rush Green training ground. Tickets are available on the gate at 8 pounds for adults and 2 pounds for U-16s. Otherwise, the game is being shown live on BBC Online and the red button. Kickoff is at 1230pm.
I won’t be at this game, so we won’t have post match reaction, but there is plenty more on the horizon in the coming days and weeks. We will have a full match preview for Wednesday night’s Conti Cup quarter-final against Birmingham on the site on Tuesday and exclusive player reaction after that game too. Next Sunday’s big match at home to Chelsea will get the same treatment.
We will also get the lowdown on new signing Katrine Veje from Danish women’s football expert Katja Kragelund. January’s feature interview promises to be an excellent one too as I speak to a current player about her off field charity work. That will be on the site in a fortnight or so.