Arsenal take a handsome 4-0 lead into their Champions League round of 32 second leg tie against Fiorentina at Meadow Park on Thursday evening. A brace from Vivianne Miedema as well as goals from Scottish duo Lisa Evans and Kim Little have given the Gunners a near unassailable advantage for the home leg.
Joe Montemurro will again look to slightly rotate his team after giving minutes to Emma Mitchell, Jordan Nobbs and Lia Wälti in Saturday’s 5-0 Conti Cup win over London City Lionesses. With a crunch WSL match against Brighton on Sunday lunchtime, the coach will again look to use his squad in what ought to be an easy enough evening at Boreham Wood.
— Fiorentina Women's FC (@ACF_Womens) September 13, 2019
Brighton have made an unbeaten start to their season and will provide stiff opposition on Sunday, but with a compact squad, Arsenal will still send out a very strong side who ought to deal comfortably with Fiorentina. The Gunners are likely to be the only unseeded side to make it through to the round of 16, which would assure a tough tie in the next round unless the visitors can pull off a miracle.
Arsenal will make a late check on Louise Quinn, who had to withdraw from the starting line-up just before kickoff on Sunday after complaining of a tight calf. Her 11th hour replacement Leah Williamson picked up a slight knock in that game and may not be risked with WSL encounters against Brighton and Chelsea on the horizon.
Lia Wälti started against London City Lionesses, playing 45 minutes in her first action since January. She told Arseblog News that another start against Fiorentina is unlikely as she steps up rehabilitation. Likewise, Joe Montemurro has confirmed that he will not start Jordan Nobbs, who played 90 minutes for the first time since last November on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Katrine Veje (ankle), Danielle Carter (knee) and Tabea Kemme (knee) are out. Vivianne Miedema was rested for the Lionesses match, but with Beth Mead having started every game so far this season, the Dutch striker might be called upon to give Mead a breather.
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal defeated Fiorentina 4-0 in the first leg thanks to goals from Miedema (2), Little and Evans. Arsenal also gave London City Lionesses a 5-0 going over on Sunday thanks to a Beth Mead hat-trick and goals from Jill Roord and Emma Mitchell. Fiorentina lost 2-0 to AS Roma on Sunday in Serie A, goals from Andrine Hegeberg (Ada’s sister) and Annamaria Serturini were enough to defeat Antonio Cincotti’s side.
We've got this on repeat rn 😍
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 23, 2019
PLAYER TO WATCH
Katie McCabe has largely played in a left-back role so far this season after Katrine Veje suffered an ankle injury on international duty. The Ireland captain was rested on Sunday, with Emma Mitchell introduced into the line-up. I think it’s likely Mitchell will start again, meaning that Katie McCabe might play in one of her preferred wide forward berths.
🇮🇪 @Katie_McCabe11's 2018/19 season…
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 21, 2019
McCabe became a valuable source of goals and assists in the spring, often as an inverted winger playing from the right, where she scored the crucial winning goal against Birmingham in March. Lisa Evans was also rested on Sunday and it seems likely that Evans and McCabe will play on the flanks. Both players often swap from left to right to keep opponent’s guessing. Their movement will be key against what is likely to be a defensive Fiorentina side.
18.PEYRAUD-MAGNIN, 20.MAIER, 22.SCHNADERBECK, 5.BEATTIE, 3.MITCHELL; 14.ROORD, 10.LITTLE (c), 7.VAN DE DONK; 17.EVANS, 15.McCABE; 11.MIEDEMA. Subs: 1.Zinsberger, 6.Williamson, 8.Nobbs, 13.Wälti, 23.Mead, 26.Grant, 27.Filis.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game will be streamed live on arsenal.com and the Arsenal app. Kickoff is at 7.30pm at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park. Tickets will also be available on the gate on the night too.
Good news, Gooners….
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) September 25, 2019
We will have the usual exclusive match reaction on the site on Thursday evening, as well as a Brighton match preview online from Friday afternoon. The latest Arsenal Women Arsecast will air next week, after the Brighton game. In the meantime, if you haven’t already seen it, check out this piece in which we discuss the importance of Lia Wälti with Gunners boss Joe Montemurro and defender Leah Williamson.