UEFA has today announced that the Women’s Champions League will be concluded over the course of nine days at the end of August. Arsenal have a quarter-final tie to play against Paris Saint Germain, originally scheduled to take place over two legs in March.
The tournament will resume in San Sebastien, with the quarter-finals played on 21st and 22nd August, the semi-finals to take place on 25th and 26th August, with the final in the Anoeta Stadium in San Sebastien on August 30th. A draw will take place in Nyon on 26th June to determine the order of the games.
This means the quarter and semi-finals will be pared down to one leg, so the Gunners will take on PSG on either 21st or 22nd August. The winners of this game will play the winners of Bayern Munich or Lyon in the semi-final. The full quarter-final line-up is below:
Atletico Madrid v Barcelona
Olympique Lyonnais v Bayern Munich
Glasgow City v Wolfsburg
Paris Saint Germain v Arsenal
— #UWCL (@UWCL) June 17, 2020
The problem for Arsenal is going to be squad size. UEFA has decreed that any new players not registered at the club on March 18th won’t be able to take part. Arsenal will have a number of players arriving at the club this summer who won’t be able to play, while the likes of Katrine Veje, Emma Mitchell, Louise Quinn, Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, Ruby Grant and Silvana Flores already gone and at least one more squad player poised to follow.
The new rules allow for 5 substitutions to be made but Arsenal almost certainly won’t be able to field 5 substitutes with their incoming players not allowed to take part. Caitlin Foord was signed in January and can be added to the squad, after that, Arsenal will probably add some academy players with no first-team experience.
Winning the tournament is now Arsenal’s only chance of qualifying for the 2020-21 competition after the WSL was decided by points per game, leaving them in 3rd spot outside of the qualifying spaces.