After Tuesday’s chastening, if not unexpected, 4-1 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday evening, Arsenal are back in the WSL saddle for the visit of Everton on Sunday afternoon. Jonas Eidevall’s side have won all of their league games so far, including home victories over Chelsea and Manchester City and they will aim to keep that momentum on Sunday.
Arsenal are passed the stage of the season now where their early start for Champions League qualifying gives them a slight physical edge and now they are in the section of the season where they will be physically disadvantaged with midweek Champions League games and the travelling that entails. This is where the manager’s squad rotation policy should start to reap value.
Ready to bounce back 👊 pic.twitter.com/F6XFVGga17
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 8, 2021
The likes of Jordan Nobbs, Caitlin Foord, Nikita Parris, Tobin Heath, Anna Patten, Mana Iwabuchi and Lotte Wubben-Moy were substitutes on Tuesday and many of them will probably start against Everton. The Gunners have another Champions League game on the horizon this Thursday at home to Hoffenheim to consider too.
Eidevall admitted that he got his game plan wrong against Barcelona also referring to them as “the best team I have ever faced.” Everton are a good team who continue to invest heavily in their squad but Arsenal will again be favourites for this match.
Once again, Arsenal will only be without Simone Boye Sorensen (knee) and Malin Gut (ACL) on Sunday, though Boye is now training outside again. Everyone else in the squad is currently fit and available for selection.
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 18.Williams, 28.Cull
DEFENDERS: 3.Wubben-Moy, 4.Patten, 5.Beattie, 6.Williamson, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 22.Schnaderbeck, 29.Goldie
MIDFIELDERS: 8.Nobbs, 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 13.Wälti, 23.Iwabuchi
FORWARDS: 9.Mead, 11.Miedema, 14.Parris, 15.McCabe, 19.Foord, 77.Heath
A WORD FROM THE BOSS
Manu (Zinsberger) is a great character with lots of positive energy and a really developing mind. She is always trying to find edges to get better. I think I saw one of Manu’s first professional games, when she was playing for Neulengbach against my former team Malmo in 2011 before I was appointed as an assistant coach and I was just watching them. She must have been 17 and she played an incredible game, making save after save. I always knew she was a really good goalkeeper.
LAST TIME OUT
When the teams met at Meadow Park last December, Arsenal ran out 4-0 winners with goals from Caitlin Foord, Jordan Nobbs, Jen Beattie and Beth Mead. The match was much closer when the teams last met, however, on Merseyside. Katie McCabe’s first half goal was cancelled out by Megan Finnigan. Kim Little scored a penalty with the final kick of the game to give the Gunners the points back in May.
Everton invested heavily again this summer, they even bought three players from Jonas Eidevall’s previous club Rosengard. One of whom, 18 year-old Hanna Bennison, was purchased for a six figure sum and smashed the club’s transfer record. Everton are trying to break into the top three and have invested heavily in consecutive summers now.
The issue they have is breaking the glass ceiling of the WSL’s big three. They have also lost Chloe Kelly and Hayley Raso to Manchester City during this time and the consistent high turnover of players has made it difficult for them to find cohesion in their playing style. Willie Kirk’s side have lost all of their last 15 WSL games against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United.
They tend to favour a five at the back approach in those matches and it hasn’t really worked for them to this point. In the fixture between these teams in May, Everton were dominated by Arsenal in the first half with their back five. They moved to a 4231 in the second half and began to cause the Gunners issues, so Kirk may well be tempted to use that formation from the start here.
— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) October 8, 2021
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jordan Nobbs came on from the bench against Barcelona as she eases her way back into the team from injury. After the ludicrous decision not to select her for the Olympics this summer, Jordan had the advantage of a full pre-season with Arsenal- or so we thought. She turned her ankle badly in the pre-season victory over Chelsea and missed the first four weeks of this campaign.
Jordan hasn’t had the opportunity to truly get going again following her ACL injury in November 2018 through a mixture of the interruption of the calendar due to covid and some niggling injuries last season, when she was mostly played on the left-wing. Eidevall advocates for a high-octane pressing game and there are few better for such a tactic than Jordan Nobbs.
I would expect her to start this game, whether she feels she has something to prove or not is really by the by, you pretty much always get the same performance from Jordan, who scored in this fixture last season. There is a lot of competition in those midfield spots but Jordan Nobbs on top of her game certainly fills one of them.
Subs: 4.Patten, 5.Beattie, 7.Catley, 9.Mead, 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 18.Williams, 22.Schnaderbeck, 77.Heath
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The match takes place at Meadow Park on Sunday at 3pm, tickets are £12 adults and £6 concessions on the gate. The game will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK. Check your local listings to see where the game will be broadcast where you are, consult this guide to see which channels carry WSL games where you are.
CALLING ALL GOONERS 👋
We’re back in @BarclaysFAWSL action on Sunday – and we need your support! ❤️
— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) October 8, 2021
We will have match reaction from Jonas Eidevall on the site on Sunday afternoon, as well as all the usual build-up and reaction for Thursday’s game against Hoffenheim in the Champions League.