There is no rest for the wicked as Arsenal are back in Continental Cup group stage action at home to Boreham Wood on Sunday afternoon. The Gunners squad stayed in Prague on Wednesday evening and flew back to London on Thursday morning following their impressive 5-2 Round of 16 first leg win over Slavia Praha.
A slightly leggy looking Arsenal allowed a 5-0 advantage to be reduced by 40% in the final quarter of the match in Prague as Joe Montemurro gave Jordan Nobbs and Lia Walti their first 90 minutes since returning from serious knee injuries. Emma Mitchell and Louise Quinn were also given a runout with changes made to defence and Montemurro will look to rotate his team again for the visit of the Championship side.
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 16, 2019
The Conti Cup group stages are, in truth, largely a non-event due to the chasms between professional WSL sides and semi-pro Championship teams. Having started their group with a 5-0 win over Championship side London City Lionesses and Arsenal should be looking at winning by a similar margin again on Sunday.
Viki Schnaderbeck will be out for a few weeks with a muscle strain picked up on international duty, while Leonie Maier is also out with an ankle problem. Montemurro will certainly look to start the likes of Emma Mitchell and Louise Quinn, who have been peripheral figures so far this season, while Katrine Veje is likely to start after coming back from a foot problem.
Tabea Kemme and Danielle Carter are long term absentees due to knee injuries. Young players such as Ruby Grant, Silvana Flores and Mel Filis will be in line to start too, as will Jill Roord who was a substitute for Wednesday’s Champions League fixture. Lia Walti and Jordan Nobbs are likely to be rested after playing 90 minutes for the first time since returning from knee injuries in midweek.
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal played Charlton in the group stages of last season’s Conti Cup and thrashed the Addicks 5-0 at Boreham Wood, thanks to an own goal and braces from Katie McCabe and Vivianne Miedema in December 2018. The teams have history too, the Gunners completed their famous quadruple triumph in May 2007 when they beat a Charlton side featuring Eni Aluko, Casey Stoney and Natasha Dowie 4-1 with braces from Kelly Smith and Jayne Ludlow. A Julie Fleeting hat trick also gave Arsenal a 2004 FA Cup Final win over Charlton at Loftus Road.
Charlton lost their opening group match 3-0 to Brighton, while Arsenal were 5-0 victors away at Millwall Lionesses.
Initially founded as Bromley Borough FC in the early 90s, before becoming Croydon Ladies, in the early 2000s, now renamed Charlton, they often challenged the all-conquering Arsenal side for the English football’s biggest prizes. They can take credit for the development of talent like Eni Aluko, Casey Stoney, Katie Chapman and Joanna Broadhurst.
Charlton won the FA Cup in 2005 and the League Cup in 2006, but relegation from the Premier League for the men’s side in 2007 saw funding dry up. Nowadays, Charlton live a more modest existence in the Championship, having been promoted from the third tier in 2017-18. Charlton’s main threat is former Gunners trainee and striker Charlotte Devlin, having lost club record goal scorer Kit Graham to Tottenham this summer. The Addicks are having a difficult season with 1 point from their first 4 Championship games, they currently prop up the table in the second tier.
— Charlton Athletic Women (@CAFCWomen) May 27, 2018
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jill Roord will almost certainly start after starting from the bench against Slavia Praha on Wednesday night. It’s fair to say Roord has not totally acclimatised to the team yet, which is to be expected at this early stage. She was played as a number 10 at Chelsea, playing off Vivianne Miedema and the tactic didn’t really work.
Glorious debut goal for Jill Roord! ?
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham pic.twitter.com/fzHfUgcPHT
— Women's Football News (@WFRumour) September 8, 2019
There are plenty of players in Roord’s favoured position in the Arsenal squad, but she differs from Nobbs, van de Donk and Kim Little in that she is more of an ‘off the ball’ player, whereas the Gunners other attacking midfielders are drawn to the ball. Roord has a good off the ball burst into the area and Arsenal haven’t fully exploited her qualities yet.
1.ZINSBERGER, 17.EVANS, 5.BEATTIE, 16.QUINN, 3.MITCHELL, 14.ROORD, 27.FILIS, 7.VAN DE DONK, 15.McCABE, 2.VEJE, 23.MEAD. Subs; 6.Williamson, 8.Nobbs, 10.Little, 13.Walti, 18.Peyraud-Magnin, 26.Grant, 28.Flores.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
This game is not being broadcast live. The FA Player app only shows one game per round in the Conti Cup and given the gulf between these teams, one can understand why they haven’t selected Arsenal v Charlton with Manchester United playing Manchester City on Sunday too. The match will take place at Meadow Park on Sunday with a 2pm kickoff. Tickets are available on the gate.
We will have exclusive player reaction on the site on Sunday evening, as well as all of the build-up to next weekend’s crunch WSL game against Manchester City. The next episode of the Arsenal Women Arsecast will be available in the international break in November.