Arsenal Women travel to Brighton (well, Crawley) on Sunday with the aim of confirming progression from their Conti Cup group. Having thrashed Millwall and Charlton 4-0 already in the group, a victory over Hope Powell’s Brighton at the People’s Pension Stadium will mean they will be guaranteed at least second place and a spot in the group and a place in the quarter-finals with two games still to play.
Joe Montemurro will likely look for more short rotation in the team ahead of the international break. However, we know by now that the coach does not believe in making wholesale changes. Brighton will look to be organised and hit the Gunners on the break, but Montemurro’s side have beaten scored four goals in each of their last three encounters against the Seagulls.
After an 8-0 victory over Slavia Praha on Thursday, Arsenal will be keen to maintain their momentum in this competition. Realistically, Brighton are battling with Bristol City for the second qualification spot in this group having lost to the Robins already. Bristol have still to come to Meadow Park, so a point for Brighton would still represent great value and a place in the Conti Cup quarter-finals would be a big carrot for the home team.
Another game, another @VivianneMiedema hat-trick ⚽️⚽️⚽️
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 31, 2019
Jordan Nobbs will return to the squad after being rested for the Slavia Praha game on Thursday. Katie McCabe should also come in after being rested to the bench, while Viki Schnaderbeck will probably start following her return from a thigh injury, with Jen Beattie likely to be rested after playing more minutes than any other Arsenal player so far this season.
Emma Mitchell is also in line to start, but Tabea Kemme and Danielle Carter (both knee) are both definitely out. The academy side don’t have a match until Wednesday evening, so the likes of Ruby Grant, Mel Filis and Silvana Flores could be involved in this match.
The priority for Hope Powell’s side is survival in the WSL and they are currently second bottom, just a point above Liverpool in the WSL. They started the season with two draws, including one against Chelsea, but have lost all of their league games since. In her pre-match press conference, Hope Powell intimated that she will rotate her side for this game.
“This match will be about being better than we were in our last match against Arsenal. We need to keep possession better and move the ball quicker. There will be changes and we’ll give players who haven’t had as many minutes a chance to shine.” Brighton boast some ex-Gunners in their squad, most notably skipper Dani Buet who left the club as a teenager in 2007 to join Chelsea. Back-up goalkeeper Sophie Harris will probably start on Sunday and she was Emma Byrne’s deputy in the 2012-13 season.
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal beat Brighton 4-0 in the WSL at Meadow Park in September, thanks to goals from Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk and Jordan Nobbs. The last time the Gunners played away at Brighton, the match was played at the AMEX Stadium in April and another 4-0 win for Joe Montemurro’s side sealed a first league title in seven years.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jordan Nobbs was rested on Thursday evening and she will be raring to go again against Brighton. Her performance against Manchester City last weekend saw her play somewhere close to her best. Joe Montemurro says it will be Christmas before we see Jordan at the absolute top of her game again, but even at 70% she is one of the best players in the WSL.
Arsenal will have a lot of the ball and, I fancy, Kim Little might start this one on the bench. This game, therefore, represents an opportunity for Jill Roord and Jordan to enhance their on-pitch relationship. Jordan is a high-touch player, while Jill likes to make strong runs into the area off the ball. On paper, they ought to be a well-suited partnership.
— miedemastuff ⚽️ (@miedemastuff) October 19, 2019
1.ZINSBERGER, 20.MAIER, 22.SCHNADERBECK, 16.QUINN, 3.MITCHELL, 13.WALTI, 8.NOBBS (c), 14.ROORD, 15.McCABE, 2.VEJE, 23.MEAD. Substitutes; 5.Beattie, 6.Williamson, 7.van de Donk, 10.Little, 11.Miedema, 17.Evans, 18.Peyraud-Magnin.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game will not be streamed or broadcast anywhere. You can buy tickets on the turnstile at Crawley Town’s People’s Pension Stadium for £6 adults and £3 concessions. Kickoff is at 2pm on Sunday.
We will have exclusive post-match player reaction on the site after the final whistle on Sunday. The November edition of the Arsenal Women Arsecast will be released during the week commencing 11th November and will be a spotlight episode on the Gunners’ Dutch contingent. It contains interviews with Jill Roord, Vivianne Miedema, Leah Williamson talking about Vivianne Miedema and special guest Annemarie Postma, Dutch national team journalist and author of the book ‘Samen Sterk’, the story of Netherlands’ Euro 2017 triumph.