Arsenal Women Weekly Round-Up: Hot To Crot

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BACK….ON….TOP….
Arsenal went back to the top of the WSL with a convincing 5-1 win over Liverpool on Sunday, Beth Mead scored two, Kim Little, Dominique Bloodworth and Vivianne Miedema scored a goal apiece at Tranmere’s Prenton Park. The win puts Joe Montemurro’s side 1 point above Manchester City with a game in hand. One more win guarantees the team Champions League qualification, three more gives them the title. There are four matches remaining. Full highlights of Sunday’s game are available below.

Beth Mead scored twice as Arsenal Women beat Liverpool to return to the top of the Women's Super League.

Posted by The FA Women's Super League on Monday, 25 March 2019

Vivianne Miedema played in more of a decoy role, opening up space for runners in behind. But the Dutch striker nabbed her 20th goal of the season in some style in stoppage time, sitting Liverpool’s rearguard down with a deft shimmy before lobbing their prone bodies. Well worth repeat viewing.

COMEBACK KIDS
The game marked Viki Schnaderbeck’s Arsenal debut, after the Austrian defender tore her knee cartilage on the eve of the season. She replaced Leah Williamson after 83 minutes. Danielle Carter got more minutes from the bench too, after returning against Bristol City ten days ago. I spoke to Dan post match and that interview will go up on Wednesday morning. Jess Samuelsson also made an emotional appearance from the bench. The defence is an area that will need to be addressed over the summer, with a defensive departure set to be announced shortly.

DVD: ‘IT MAKES US SO HAPPY TO SEE PLAYERS COMING BACK’
I spoke with Dutch midfielder Danielle van de Donk post match and the Gunners forward was enthused by the presence of Samuelsson, Schnaderbeck and Carter in the squad, “It’s great for us as a team and it makes us really happy to see players who have been out for a long time coming back.

“They look fresh, they look fit, they are smiling, they are training really well and pushing everybody. Dan Carter’s feet are as quick as ever and I am buzzing for her. I said yesterday to Viki ‘give us a bit more air.’ She makes everything quite calm, as a player and as a person and we are really happy they are all back playing again.”

‘IT WAS A CROT’ ADMITS SHEEPISH BETH
When Beth Mead smashed the ball into the top corner from an acute angle playing for England against Brazil last month, the Whitby born forward was left to insist the shot was intentional. When she scored with a similar strike against Liverpool, Mead admitted that she mishit her cross due to the very bumpy Prenton Park pitch.

“No, I was lucky with that one! It was meant to be more of a cross,” she told Arsenal.com. “It hit a bobble and it just happened to go top bins. I’m not going to complain, though, and everyone’s calling it a ‘crot’ at the moment, which I’ll take! I meant my goal for England but I can’t take today’s.”

FIXTURE CHANGES
Fortunately, the WSL have seen sense and decided that playing the final round of WSL matches at the same time as the final round of Premier League matches might not be the best idea from a marketing perspective- not least because Arsenal’s home game with Manchester City could yet be a straight shootout for the league title.

The final games will now take place on Saturday, 11th May at 1230pm. Meanwhile, the Gunners’ home game with Everton on Sunday, 21st April has been moved to a 1230pm kickoff and will be screened live on the BBC. It also means that you can make the short hop from Boreham Wood to the Emirates in time for the 4pm kickoff between Arsenal and Crystal Palace if you were so inclined.

The capacity at Meadow Park will be limited for the final two home games, due to the North Stand redevelopment we told you about last week. Tickets for both games will only be sold online and not on the day, with the capacity reduced to 2,200. Season ticket holders will be admitted as usual.

BARCLAYS AGREE LANDMARK SPONSORSHIP DEAL WITH WSL
Starting from next season, Barclays will become the first official sponsor of the Women’s Super League, in a deal worth £10m and the deal runs until 2022. This also means there will be prize money available to teams for the first time and represents a breakthrough moment for the financing of women’s football at the elite level.

Barclays also pledge to take up grassroots initiatives designed to encourage girls to play football at school. Kelly Simmons, The FA’s director of women’s professional game said, “Their record, multimillion-pound commitment will impact all levels of the game and will support our ambition to make the Barclays FA Women’s Super League the world’s most successful league, on and off the pitch.”

JORDAN NOBBS OPENS UP ON MENTAL CHALLENGE OF REHABILITATION
While the likes of Dan Carter and Viki Schnaderbeck return from long term injuries and Tabea Kemme’s comeback edges closer, Jordan Nobbs remains some months away from a comeback. Jordan opened up on the mental challenge of rehabilitation in an interview with Sky Sports.

“I need to carry on with my rehab. But I am an elite athlete and I have put everything from the time I was seven years old into football. I have made those sacrifices. You have to accept injury along the way but I think you also have to accept that you are allowed to be sad about it and that you are allowed to be a bit emotional at times and know that it hurts because that’s how passionate I am about the game.” Full interview below.

LEAH WILLIAMSON: JOURNEY TO THE TOP
Arsenal defender Leah Williamson recorded an interview with the FAWSL website last week describing her journey to becoming a professional footballer and the choice she made to pursue football ahead of gymnastics and athletics. “Being at Arsenal from such a young age, this club has had a massive impact on my life and who I am.” The full interview is available below.

LISA EVANS TALKS #WEPLAYSTRONG
Winger Lisa Evans talked about her involvement with UEFA’s #WePlayStrong initiative with Vavel.com last week, “I think when I was growing up there wasn’t as many female role models – especially not in football and playing professional. When I was younger I looked up to Julie Fleeting. She was really the only one that went down to Arsenal at the time and managed to play professional football. It’s massively important to be a role model for these younger kids coming through.” Full interview below.

MEADO AND DvD TALK TO SOCCEREX
Beth Mead and Danielle van de Donk sat down with Soccerex to talk about the development of women’s football, their international aspirations and their off pitch studies- both are pursuing qualifications currently. The full interview is available to read below.

COMING UP
Our exclusive interview with Danielle Carter, focusing on her recovery from an ACL injury, will go online on Wednesday morning. We are also recording the March edition of the Arsenal Women Arsecast this week, which will feature an interview with the Guardian’s Women’s Football Correspondent Suzy Wrack.

We chat with Suzy about Barclays sponsorship deal with the WSL and the recent record crowds for Juventus and Atletico Madrid’s women’s teams over the last fortnight. There will be the usual match preview for the Birmingham game on the site on Friday afternoon and exclusive player reaction post-match online on Sunday afternoon.

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Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

Thanks Tim. Captivating reading. My footballing interests since the age of 13 have always centered on THE ARSENAL My Dad’s birthday treat, .Nov 1965 v Aston Villa, George Armstrong & Co 0-3 to 3-3. 50 years of misery to elation and back again. My love affair began to wane with the Silent Stan takeover and the moronic Wenger Out campaign. Yes, Arsene should have been gently eased to retirement but not pilloried. Anyway, introduction to Arsenal Women has restored my belief in the old values of loyalty & just the shere joy of the beautiful game. So thank you AWFC and the brilliant bunch of supporters who follow them👍

soccer live

very good players

Danger Mouse
Danger Mouse

Bergkamp-esque was that last goal.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Aye! A Dutch Masterpiece.
I have been extremely impressed with Vivianne this season not just because of the number of goals but the quality of some of them have been outstanding.

goonish finner
goonish finner

Thanks for the extra coverage on the women’s team. I really hope they win the title! My 5yo daughter already wants a DvD shirt.

mashkeyboardgetusername
mashkeyboardgetusername

Thanks Tim, another great writeup. I was pleased to see about the sponsorship deal, hopefully that’ll encourage some other teams to invest in the women’s game a bit more (which might make things harder for Arsenal, admittedly, but a lot of teams do seem to be a long way behind the top 4) and help the whole thing grow.

Fingers crossed for a good result against Birmingham…

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

True but there are several very good teams hiding away in WSL2 at the moment and I suspect within a couple of seasons that top 4 might become a top 8!

mashkeyboardgetusername
mashkeyboardgetusername

That’s a good point, it will be interesting to see how that all develops.

Random but semi-related question: do we carry across the sp*rs animosity to their women’s team? I haven’t yet been to an Arsenal women’s game (just too far away) let along one against the traditional enemy, so I’ve no idea what the atmosphere is like when the teams do meet.

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

Simple answer to that one. No. Only competitive match between the Arse & Spuds was a 10 nil thrashing handed out by the Arse in FA Cup a couple of years ago. It’s not to say that won’t change but up to now I haven’t witnessed much tribal behaviour in the women’s game. Only real “needle” I have felt is in games v Chelski fuelled by the rather agressive Emma Hayes.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Unfortunately the Spuds have improved a great deal since then and are sniffing around promotion to the top tier. Man U will probably keep them out this year but since it looks like we may loose Yeovil completely and we have no idea what the format will be when Barclays are paying for the league it may be that the promotion / relegation places could change.
The other thing to consider is that the crowd for women’s matches are much more family orientated than for the men’s game so the atmosphere is very different. The players are much more open to engaging with the fans too.
Let’s hope in the new age of professionalism and that prize money will be at stake we retain all that is good about the women’s game and its popularity should take care of itself without the need to become tribal.

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

Some good points………poor old Yeovil seem to have thrown themselves into the full-time top tier a bit too early. As to the Spuds getting promoted. Unless their hierarchy put some money into the “kitty” then full-time status is some way off. The pitch they play on at Cheshunt needs some investment as well (along the lines of Arsenal’s input to Meadow Park). Mind you the Barclay’s sponsorship of WSL1 is only the beginning. The allure of pots of cash swilling around the women’s game might change lots of things……some good, some bad.