Arsenal Women begin the last leg of their WSL title assault knowing that wins against lowly Everton and Brighton will guarantee them their first league title since 2012 with a game to spare and, in turn, spare them the agony of a last day title play off with Manchester City at Meadow Park. Everton are 2nd bottom of the WSL but their survival is guaranteed and they’ve little to play for.
The opposite is true of Arsenal, who are just 6 points away from the title. But the Gunners will remember that this fixture takes place a year to the day that they drew at Yeovil Town- one of the only two points Yeovil picked up last season. The Gunners missed Champions League qualification by a single point. They will want to avoid making a similarly costly mistake against Everton.
— The FA Women's Super League (@FAWSL) April 3, 2019
Montemurro’s side squeezed out a hard-earned 1-0 win at Birmingham last time out, a fixture that had a giant red ring around it in the Arsenal calendar. The manager will want to warn his team against thinking they have done the hard work by winning that game and he will be keen to re-focus them after an extended international break.
Arsenal will be heavy favourites for this game and should win it comfortably, but the same was true against Yeovil on that fateful afternoon 365 days previous. This also accounts for Arsenal’s game in hand over 2nd placed City, who sit this weekend out. (There are 11 teams in the division, so one sits out every round of matches). City are at home to bottom of the league Yeovil next weekend. Arsenal are in an outstanding position, but there is no margin for error.
Lia Walti is out for the next few months after undergoing surgery on her lateral collateral ligament last week. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin is a doubt after picking up a knee injury playing for France during the international break. The injury is not serious, but with Sari van Veenendaal in reserve, there is little need to risk the French stopper.
Emma Mitchell is still out with an ankle injury. Academy players such as Ava Kuyken, Ruby Grant, Amelia Hazard, Melissa Filis and Hannah Dawbarn won’t feature as the U-21s play an academy cup final against Manchester United on Sunday.
— SGS Female Football Academy (@BCWFC_SGS) April 14, 2019
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal were convincing 4-0 winners in Southport back in November thanks to goals from Danielle van de Donk, Vivianne Miedema (2) and Jordan Nobbs. But the result was marred by injury to Jordan Nobbs, who fell awkwardly and ruptured her cruciate ligament. In this fixture last season, the Gunners won 1-0 thanks to a first-half effort from Beth Mead.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Since injury befell Jordan Nobbs in November, Arsenal lost a vital attacking outlet and source of goals. Curiously, Arsenal players have worked in ‘shifts’ to replace her goal output. Kim Little went on a good scoring run early in the season prior to her leg break. After that, Danielle van de Donk took up the mantle in the winter.
Miedema’s goals have been a constant, but after a barren spell in front of goal, Beth Mead seems to have hit upon a streak at the right time. The WSL Player of the Month for March scored for England again during the international break as she has rediscovered her goalscoring touch, scoring twice for the Gunners in March.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 11, 2019
Her performance and two goals in the SheBelieves Cup in February for England seems to have reignited her confidence, even if her creative output has been excellent this season. She leads the WSL in the assists stakes with 10. Taking up a position just wide of Miedema in the front three has been a new role for Beth this season and now she seems to have balanced the creative and goalscoring side of her role just in time for the run-in.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game will be screened live on BBC Online and the Red Button with kickoff at 1230pm. But please be advised that due to works underway on the North Stand at Meadow Park, the capacity is slightly reduced and therefore this match is all ticket.
We’ll have exclusive player reaction from the Everton match on the site on Sunday evening, as well as the usual Weekly Round-Up on Monday capturing all of the best match reaction and views. There will be a full match preview of the Brighton game on site next Friday, as well as exclusive match reaction from that game. The April edition of the Arsenal Women Arsecast will drop on Monday, 29th April. We’ll be commemorating Arsenal’s 2007 European Cup victory with a couple of very, very special guests.