Arsenal play London Bees at Meadow Park in their final Conti Cup group game on Wednesday evening. The Gunners need to avoid defeat inside 90 minutes at home to London Bees to finish top of their Conti Cup group and set up a quarter-final against a group runner-up in January. The competition format means that if the game is level after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout is held to decide which team gets an additional point.
Bees are currently 5th in the Championship and need a win and for Brighton to lose at London City Lionesses with a 12 goal swing to take place, while they would also need Bristol City to lose to Charlton. It’s a long shot, but you won’t catch me disrespecting Lee Burch’s team by downplaying their chances. No sir, not I.
— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) December 7, 2019
Arsenal will surely look to rotate as far as possible after a physical game on a heavy pitch against Reading on Sunday. Manager Joe Montemurro has had to return to Australia for personal reasons, so the match will be taken by Aaron D’Antino and Leanne Hall. The Gunners also have another tough away trip to Everton to contend with this coming Sunday.
Katrine Veje (foot), Danielle Carter (knee) and Tabea Kemme (knee) are all out. However, Katie McCabe has recovered from a combination of illness and a sore ankle and could start, as could Leonie Maier, Louise Quinn, Jill Roord and Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, all of whom were on the bench for Sunday’s win at Reading. The Academy team does not have a fixture this midweek, so Ruby Grant and Mel Filis are available. However, Silvana Flores is currently on international duty with Mexico.
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal thrashed London Bees 7-0 in the Conti Cup group stages back in October 2017 at Meadow Park in what proved to be Pedro Losa’s penultimate game in charge. Braces from Beth Mead and Emma Mitchell, as well as goals from Lisa Evans, Louise Quinn and Jodie Taylor put the seal on that victory.
The teams met in the same competition at The Hive in July 2015 and the Bees took the lead through Amber Gayler, before goals from Carla Humphrey and Natalia Pablos (2) gave Arsenal a 3-1 win. Arsenal thrashed Bees 7-0 in the Conti Cup a year earlier too, with Freda Ayisi, Casey Stoney, Dan Carter and doubles from Turid Knaak and Alex Scott completing the rout.
London Bees are associated with Barnet Football Club and play at their ground, the Hive. They’ve had various incarnations down the years, originally known as District Line Ladies FC, before tying up with Wembley Ladies in the early 90s, then Barnet in the late 90s and rebranded as London Bees in 2014.
Now managed by experienced coach Lee Burch, who previously led Yeovil Town Ladies and Millwall Lionesses. He took over the reins from Gunners legend Rachel Yankey in the summer. Bees have former Arsenal academy players Billie Brooks and Amelia Hazard in their squad. In Sarah Quantrill, they have a WSL standard goalkeeper and no question, but Sarah prefers to play at semi-professional level so that she can maintain her accounting career.
Bees are on a bad run having not won any of their last five matches. Winger Amelia Hazard is well known to Arsenal having only left the club last summer, she played 60 minutes of the Conti Cup Final defeat to Manchester City in February. Lauren Pickett is their principal goal threat with 5 goals this season.
PLAYER TO WATCH
With Katie McCabe and Katrine Veje unavailable and Emma Mitchell not deemed ready to start, Arsenal have lacked natural left footers in recent games and a presence on their left hand side. At Reading, the Royals constantly forced turnovers on Arsenal’s left-side in the opening exchanges. With right-footed centre-half Viki Schnaderback at left-back and right-footed Danielle van de Donk on the left flank with a license to wander inside, it left a technical gap.
🔥 @Katie_McCabe11’s enjoyed the season of her life…
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) May 15, 2019
With McCabe fit again and likely to start, the Gunners get a much needed left-footer into the team. All 11 of the players selected on Sunday were right-footed. McCabe has become one of Arsenal’s most important players since Joe Montemurro’s arrival with her technical security and her ability to surge down the left flank when required. McCabe acts as a balancer for the Arsenal team, regardless of where she plays.
18.PEYRAUD-MAGNIN, 20.MAIER, 6.WILLIAMSON, 16.QUINN, 3.MITCHELL, 22.SCHNADERBECK, 27.GRANT, 10.LITTLE, 23.MEAD, 14.ROORD, 15.McCABE. Subs; 1.Zinsberger, 5.Beattie, 7.van de Donk, 8.Nobbs, 11.Miedema, 13.Wälti, 17.Evans.
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
You can only watch this one if you turn at up Meadow Park, the game is not being broadcast or streamed anywhere. The match kicks off at 7.30pm on Wednesday at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park and tickets are £1 for kids and £7 adults.
We’ll have exclusive player reaction from the match on the site on Wednesday evening, as well as all the usual build-up to Sunday’s WSL game away at Everton. Pippa and I will have a new Arsenal Women Arsecast for you in time for Christmas.