Arsenal midfielder Lia Wälti does not expect to play again this season after suffering from a setback in her recovery from a knee injury. The Swiss tweaked knee ligaments playing in a behind closed doors friendly for her country against Canada back in January. Wälti’s comeback was delayed by a setback and she is unlikely to take part in the final three games.

She pulled out of the Swiss squad and has taken some warm weather leave. I asked Joe Montemurro about hers and Emma Mitchell’s prospects of recovery following the recent win against Birmingham, “It’s hard to say but at least now we’re in a position where we’ve got more players available and we’ll take all the time we need with them to make sure they’re in perfect condition because we don’t want either of them to break down again so we’ll do what’s right for them,” he responded.

It now seems very unlikely that she will play again this season. It’s a shame, because Lia has been a revelation in the Gunners engine room this season and would have rivalled Vivianne Miedema for the Player of the Season award were it not for her injury. Switzerland did not qualify for this summer’s World Cup so she will have a full pre-season.

Meanwhile, France goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin was stretchered off during her France debut on Thursday evening, as she felt a jolt of pain in her knee while clearing the ball. Thankfully, the injury does not look to be serious and shouldn’t threaten her participation in this summer’s World Cup on home soil.

Arsenal released a statement on her injury, insisting, “Early signs are positive, but Pauline will undergo further investigation back at the club.” The Gunners are well equipped to deal with her absence, with Dutch first choice Sari van Veenendaal waiting in the wings.

Vivianne Miedema moved within 3 goals of the Netherlands all time goalscoring record as she was on the score sheet in her country’s 2-0 win over Mexico on Friday. Viv and Sari van Veenendaal played the full 90 minutes, Danielle van de Donk and Dominique Bloodworth played for just over an hour.

Beth Mead was a second half substitute and Leah Williamson was unused as the Lionesses crashed to a 1-0 defeat against Canada in Manchester on Friday. Kim Little and Lisa Evans played the full 90 minutes of Scotland’s 1-1 draw with Chile in Spain on Friday. England play Spain in Swindon on Tuesday and Netherlands take on Chile.

Scotland play Brazil on Monday night, while France play against Denmark, for whom Katrine Veje and Janni Arnth should feature. Katie McCabe and Louise Quinn’s Ireland also play a friendly against Italy. Viki Schnaderbeck could make her long awaited international return as Austria play Sweden on Tuesday evening too. The Gunners then have the weekend off as the FA Cup semi-finals take place on Sunday.

Arsenal’s penultimate game of the season away at Brighton has been moved to Brighton’s AMEX Stadium on Sunday, 28th April. The match will be screened live on BT Sport 1 and will kickoff at 12.15pm. If the Gunners defeat Everton at home next weekend, then Montemurro’s side could seal the league title with a victory at Brighton.

Tickets are currently on sale at £3 adults and £1 concessions. Ordinarily, Brighton Women play at Crawley Town’s Checkatrade Stadium, but buoyed by recent big crowds on the continent and with the prospect of the league title being sewn up, Brighton have decided to play the match in the men’s stadium.

Arsenal have struck up a partnership with Downview Women’s prison in an initiative spearheaded by former Vice-Chairman David Dein. The initiative’s purpose is to help reduce reoffending rates by making inmates more employable, using football as a vehicle. Last week, former captain Alex Scott and current Development Officer Tom Hartley visited the prison last week.

Tower Hamlets born Scott told the Telegraph, “A lot of people in the area I’m from, they just need opportunities and that’s the frustration. So for me I’m coming here saying, ‘This doesn’t have to be your end place, you don’t want to end up back in here, use these skills and go make something of your life.” You can read the full article below.

For those curious about the financials of Arsenal Women, the below may be of some interest. Some of the costs are, I imagine, lumped in with the men’s accounts. But they confirm that Arsenal, as the parent company, funded the women’s team to the tune of just over £2m last season. The injection is not a loan with no payback sought.

With a World Cup on the horizon and a record sponsorship deal struck between Barclays and the WSL, Gunners striker Beth Mead says this is a hugely exciting time for women’s football. Speaking to Samantha Miller and Hayters TV, Mead also spoke about her renewed confidence since winning the SheBelieves Cup with England last month.

“I’m really enjoying my time with Arsenal and being away with the England squad I got quite a bit of confidence from the SheBelieves Cup because I had quite a good tournament there. I’m happy with the way I’m playing and I’m really enjoying getting so many assists at the moment, which is a weird thing for me to say. I’m still learning to play on the wing.” The full interview can be viewed below.

We’ll have the next Weekly Round-Up for you next Monday, after which we will have the usual coverage of the Everton game, with a full match preview and exclusive player reaction post match. The April Arsenal Women’s Arsecast will be out on Monday, 29th April, it will be an audio documentary featuring two very, very special guests. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

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Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

Good stuff again Tim. Couldn’t agree more about Lia Walti. Despite her recent injury absence still got my Supporters Club vote for POTS.
Interesting financial statistics seeing Chelski’s figures compared to the Arsenal. Maybe the Barclay’s sponsorship will narrow the gap!! Whilst it’s great to witness these exciting times in the Women’s
game my fear (has happened already, perhaps) is that the WSL will simply mirror the Premiership with all the power in the top 3 or 4 clubs and the rest feeding on scraps. From an Arsenal perspective the signs are that Arsenal Plc do want to keep us at the head of the table. The feel good factor derived from the input to AWFC FAR outweighs the financial outlay, if one could actually measure such things as emotions within the Club’s supporters

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Yes another vote for Lia here. Sorry to hear she is out until next season but looking forward to that already being back in CL action. She was very much the unsung heroine early season. No headlines but got on with her job and did the team proud. It took a few games to get the rhythm back when she was unavailable especially when Jordan went too so everyone assumed it was because we are dependent on the latter. The players that have filled in have really raised their games and despite no cup wins we can be satisfied with a pretty good season especially when we have the WSL title (within grasp!).
Regarding respective finances we have to remember that women’s professional football is still in its infancy but is growing. As I have mentioned before Arsenal are now in a position where top quality players want to come to Boreham Wood despite the fact big money is not on offer which has to be an indication that the club are getting something right. Long may that continue!

Chris Humphrey
Chris Humphrey

After another evening of goals raining in from AWFC girls for their countries let’s hope they all get back to London Colney fit and with 11 full days to get ready for the push to claim the WSL title.
On the theme of the current euphoria for women’s football my thoughts reverted to the Q & A session hosted by Dan C at Bramhall Lane. When asked whether there was any jealousy over the vast disparity between men’s & women’s wages in the game (citing the £350k per week allegedly paid to the top earning Arsenal male, which, come to think of it, after 6 weeks equals Arsenal Plc’s contribution to AWFC for 2018!). Dan responded that earnings jealousy was not an issue as most of her team mates were still just grateful to be full-time professionals at a club like Arsenal. Obviously, it would be naive to think this gratitude could persist indefinitely as the commercial value of the women’s game grows. Perhaps we should just enjoy this feelgood factor whilst it lasts!!

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Yes unusual for Meado to score from such close range!