Arsenal Women Weekly Round Up: The Final Countdown

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THE FINISH LINE
The extended international break is at an end and Arsenal will now roll their sleeves up to try to win the WSL. 5 consecutive wins will give Montemurro’s side their first league title since 2012. The run starts with a home game against Bristol City on Thursday evening, followed by away matches at Liverpool on 24th March and Birmingham on 31st March.

Arsenal will be heavy favourites against Bristol and Liverpool, but Birmingham looks to be the real fly in the ointment in the run-in. The Gunners still have a lengthy injury list to negotiate and though they have only one focus now, the pressure will be on to confirm the league title after a flying start to the season. Ladies and gentlemen, squeaky bum time is upon us.

#IWD2019
Friday marked International Women’s Day, which is undoubtedly the most significant spike in the women’s football calendar when it comes to content and marketing. Arsenal released a very nice video featuring Leah Williamson, Danielle van de Donk, Beth Mead, Kim Little and Joe Montemurro as they discussed some of their most prominent female role-models, both in sport and closer to home.

They were joined by Bernd Leno, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Özil, who also discussed their female sporting icons. Elsewhere, Louise Quinn, who you will see from our January feature interview takes role-modelling very seriously, also recorded a very nice video with Ireland men’s boss Mick McCarthy focusing on the way we talk about female athletes.

As part of their International Women’s Day pledge for continued recognition of former players, a dedicated tribute alcove for legendary Gunners keeper Emma Byrne was unveiled at FAI HQ. I would also thoroughly recommend this recent interview with Emma for patrons of the Second Captains podcast.

ENGLAND WIN SHE BELIEVES

Phil Neville’s England took home the SheBelieves Cup, a round robin tournament where they faced Brazil, USA and Japan. England faced off with Japan in the final and helped themselves to a 3-0 win, Beth Mead cracked home the third goal, her second of the tournament.

Leah Williamson earned her first start of the tournament in that final game against Japan, helping the Lionesses to a clean sheet. Leah spoke to Jen O’Neill of She Kicks magazine after the game and described it as one of the hardest games she has played to date- certainly for England. The full interview is available below.

GUNNERS ON THE BOX AGAIN
Arsenal’s next two away games, at Liverpool on March 24th and Birmingham City on March 31st, have been selected for live television coverage. The match against Liverpool at Prenton Park stays at its 12.30pm kickoff time and will be screened live on BT Sport 1. The Birmingham game moves from 2pm to 12.30pm at Solihull Moors and will be live on BBC Online and the Red Button. Thursday night’s match against Bristol City will also be streamed live on the WSL Facebook page.

INTERNATIONAL ROUND-UP
Kim Little finished a wonderful team goal, as she helped Scotland to a 4-0 win over Iceland last Monday. 48 hours later, she was a 60th minute sub as Scotland defeated a Denmark side captained by Gunners defender Janni Arnth 1-0 to conclude their Cyprus Cup campaign.

Meanwhile, Louise Quinn’s towering header ensured Ireland defeated Wales 1-0 in a friendly in Marbella. Ireland were captained by Arsenal midfielder Katie McCabe. Meanwhile, Netherlands rounded up their Cyprus Cup campaign drawing 1-1 with China, with Vivianne Miedema scoring.

The goal moves Miedema within 4 of her country’s all time scoring record. She turns 23 in July. The match went to penalties and Miedema converted, along with clubmates Dominique Bloodworth and Danielle van de Donk. Sari van Veenendaal saved a China spot kick, ensuring a 4-2 win on penalties for the European champions.

DC IS A MARVEL
Gunners striker Danielle Carter tore her anterior cruciate ligament during the final game of last season at Bristol City (you can read my interview with Dan just two days before her surgery last June here). Carter is back training with the ball and hopes to be available for the Gunners final games of the season.

Speaking of her recovery, Carter told the FAWSL twitter account, “Until you actually go through it and go through the rehab day to day, you don’t really understand it. It’s just yourself, no matter what friends, physios, people or family say to you, it’s just you.” You can see the full interview below. We will catch up with Dan before the end of the season on Arseblog News too.

Carter also took part in a twitter Q & A with the @WomenInFootball twitter account as part of International Women’s Day, where she spoke about idolising Rachel Yankey, Brexit, her music taste and the prospect of mixed boys and girls football. A full transcript of the Q & A can be read below.

‘I DON’T THINK I COULD LOVE THIS CLUB ANYMORE THAN I DO’ JORDAN NOBBS
Carter’s good friend and long time teammate Jordan Nobbs is also undergoing recovery from a cruciate ligament injury and she spoke to 90min.com about her career to date. Jordan opens up on joining Sunderland as a youngster, moving to London to play for Arsenal, her international debut and speaks movingly about the death of her grandparents early in her career.

I don’t regret many things I’ve chosen to do. I’ve been at Arsenal for nine years now, and I can’t see myself going anywhere else,” Jordan said. “The only reason I would ever leave would be if I didn’t think I was going to be playing. It’s where I want to be, they’ve done so much for me and helped developed me so much as a player, I don’t think I could love the club any more than I do.” It’s a very arresting interview and well worth your time.

COMING UP
We’ll have full coverage of the Bristol City, Liverpool and Birmingham games, including player reaction from all three. We will also be releasing the March Arsenal Women’s Arsecast some time between the Bristol and Liverpool games. Our March feature interview will ideally form part of that podcast.

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Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Any chance that any of the players will come back from injury soon, Tim?

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

A really varied and interesting blog. The word “inspirational” is so appropriate when it comes to the Arsenal Women featured. Their humility, gratitude and eloquence is truly “inspirational”.

Fun Gunner
Fun Gunner

The Women’s Day video was quite moving, very well put together.

I read somewhere that the club handled Emma Byrne’s departure quite badly, so good to hear that they have tried to make it up to her to some degree with the tribute alcove.

Exciting few weeks ahead!

Fun Gunner
Fun Gunner

Sorry, didn’t read properly! Not the club who made Emma Byrne alcove.