Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Arsenal Women: 2022-23 squad profiles

1.Manu ZINSBERGER
Position: Goalkeeper
Nationality: Austrian
Age: 26
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2019

Manu is Austria’s number 1 goalkeeper and has played at the top level since her teens when she joined Bayern Munich. Zinsberger is renowned for her quality distribution but last season, Zinsberger’s goalkeeping fundamentals enormously improved. She had the best post shot XG of any goalkeeper in the WSL last season and won the Golden Gloves award for the most clean sheets in the WSL last season.

Interesting fact: According to FBRef, Zinsberger has a 99% completion rate for short and medium passes across her three seasons at the club.

Further reading: Manu Zinsberger’s improvement: behind the numbers

2.RAFAELLE Souza
Position: Centre-half
Nationality: Brazilian
Age: 31
Joined Arsenal: January 2022

Rafa has played in Brazil, the US and China before joining Arsenal in January. A strong left-footed defender with outstanding distribution, the Brazilian captained her country to Copa América glory in July. Rafaelle formed a very promising centre-half partnership with Leah Williamson when she arrived before injury curtailed her season in March.

Interesting fact: Rafa was awarded a soccer scholarship to study at the University of Mississippi and chose to study civil engineering as her major, largely because she did not speak much English (she is now fluent) and wanted to choose a subject that did not rely heavily on her English language skills.

Further reading: Arseblog exclusive interview from February 2022

3.Lotte WUBBEN-MOY
Position: Centre-half
Nationality: English
Age: 23
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2020

Lotte came through the Arsenal academy and made her debut as a 16-year-old before spending four years on scholarship at the University of North Carolina. The England defender returned to her childhood club in September 2020. Lotte asked to have extra community and mentoring work written into her most recent contract extension.

Interesting fact: Lotte is a fluent Dutch speaker, raised in Bow in East London, her father is from the Netherlands.

Further listening: Arseblog exclusive interview December 2021

5.Jennifer BEATTIE
Position: Centre-half
Nationality: Scottish
Age: 31
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2019

Beats joined the club as a teenager from Celtic in 2009 and won three league title, two FA Cups and two League Cups before moving to Montpellier and then to Manchester City. Beattie returned to the club in the summer of 2019. In October 2020, Beats was diagnosed with breast cancer but, happily, recovered. She signed a new contract this summer which involves a mentoring role with the club’s academy players.

Interesting fact: Jen scored for Scotland against Argentina at the 2019 World Cup at the Parc des Princes in Paris. Her father John scored a try at the same end of the same stadium for Scotland in the 1987 Six Nations.

6.Leah WILLIAMSON
Position: Centre-half
Nationality: English
Age: 25
Joined Arsenal: 2006

Leah came through the Arsenal academy, joining the club at the age of 9. A lifelong Gunners fan, Williamson made her debut as a 17-year-old and won the FA Cup in her hometown of Milton Keynes in 2014. She has since won an FA Cup at Wembley, a Conti Cup and was a crucial part of the Gunners 2018-19 title winning side. Leah captained England to Euros glory during the summer.

Interesting fact: At the age of 9, Leah and her family interrupted a family holiday so she could be the men’s team mascot for a League Cup game away at West Brom, where she had a photo with Theo Walcott.

Further listening: Arseblog exclusive interview from January 2022

7.Steph CATLEY
Position: Left-back
Nationality: Australian
Age: 28
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2020

Catley joined Arsenal two seasons ago and signed a new contract this summer. The Australian international endured an injury hit first season at the club but really came to life during the second half of last season. Catley is considered one of the finest attacking left-backs in the game.

Interesting fact: Steph’s grandfather George was born in Islington but relocated to Melbourne and is a life-long Arsenal fan.

Further listening: Arseblog Exclusive interview from December 2021

8.Jordan NOBBS
Position: Central-midfield
Nationality: English
Age: 29
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2010

Nobbs is a three-time league title winner, four-time FA Cup winner and five-time League Cup winner with Arsenal and made her 250th club appearance back in March. An energetic, attacking midfielder, Jordan is renowned for her all-round game and her ability to score from long range, as well as her ability to spread play.

Interesting fact: Jordan is Arsenal’s longest serving player, having joined the club from Sunderland in 2010.

Further listening: Arseblog exclusive interview from December 2021

9.Beth MEAD
Position: Right-forward
Nationality: English
Age: 27
Joined Arsenal: Spring 2017

Mead was voted Arsenal’s player of the season for 2021-22 and she brought that energy into this summer’s European Championship, where she won the Golden Boot and the Player of the Tournament awards, alongside her winners’ medal. Beth arrived at the club as a 77 goals in 78 games centre-forward but switched to a wide-forward position at Arsenal.

Interesting fact: While at Sunderland, Beth was involved in a car accident as she swerved to avoid a deer in the road, her car flipping onto its roof as a result. The next day, she scored a hat-trick against Chelsea.

Further reading: Beth Mead’s season by the numbers June 2022

10.Kim LITTLE(c)
Position: Central-midfield
Nationality: Scottish
Age: 32
Joined Arsenal: Spring 2017

Kim initially joined Arsenal from Hibernian as an 18-year-old where she quickly established herself as one of the biggest talents in women’s football. After winning four league titles, three FA Cups and four League Cups, she left to join Seattle Reign in early 2014. Little rejoined the club three years later and captained the club to the 2019 league title victory. Kim is considered one of the best players of the last 15 years.

Interesting fact: In September 2021, Kim was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hertfordshire, where she is a member of their alumni.

Further reading: Arseblog exclusive interview April 2022

11.Vivianne MIEDEMA
Position: Attacking midfield
Nationality: Dutch
Age: 26
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2017

Miedema joined Arsenal from Bayern Munich in the summer of 2017 off the back of two Bundesliga titles and winning Euro 2017 with the Netherlands. Miedema has since established herself as one of the best players in the world, breaking the WSL goal scoring record as well as her country’s goal scoring record at the age of 23. Miedema switched to the number 10 position during the second half of last season having previously played as a number 9.

Interesting fact: Viv broke the Netherlands goal scoring record shortly before her 23rd birthday at the 2019 World Cup. She is also the WSL’s record goal scorer.

Further reading: Vivianne Miedema speaks to Arseblog News September 2021

12.Frida MAANUM
Position: Central-midfield
Nationality: Norwegian
Age: 23
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2021

The highly-rated Norwegian midfielder arrived at the club last summer and quickly establisher herself as a favourite in Jonas Eidevall’s midfield. Tall, powerful and rangy with a powerful long-shot, Maanum is recognised as one of the best under-25 midfielders in women’s football.

Interesting fact: When Jonas Eidevall was interviewed for the Arsenal job last summer, he was asked to name three midfielders he would most like to sign. Maanum was one of the midfielders on his list. He didn’t realise that Arsenal had already signed her.

Further reading: Arseblog Exclusive interview November 2021

13.Lia WALTI
Position: Central-midfield
Nationality: Swiss
Age: 29
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2018

Signed from Turbine Potsdam in 2018, Wälti has been an absolute fixture in the side as the deepest central midfielder ever since. The Swiss international captain is known for her ability in tight spaces, her defensive awareness and her two-footedness. Lia is one of the most important players in the Arsenal team.

Interesting fact: Lia Wälti is nicknamed ‘snake hips’ by her teammates because of her ability to turn opponents. She is also one of the most two-footed players in the world. Despite being predominantly right-footed, she made more passes with her left foot (51%) than her right last season.

Further reading: Lia Wälti analysis March 2022

15.Katie McCABE
Position: Left-forward / left-back
Nationality: Irish
Age: 27
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2015

McCabe signed for the club as a promising teenager in 2015 but found minutes difficult to come by initially, joining Glasgow City on loan in 2017. The Ireland captain fully expected to leave Arsenal following her loan spell until new coach Joe Montemurro saw her in training and insisted she be part of his plans. Since 2017, only Kim Little has played more minutes in the Arsenal first-team and her ability to play either on the left-wing or at left-back make her incredibly valuable. Katie is known for her ability to score goals from long range.

Interesting fact: McCabe captains Ireland having inherited the armband from Arsenal legend Emma Byrne, McCabe is the youngest player in Ireland’s history to be appointed captain (21).

Further reading: Arseblog exclusive from February 2022

16.Noelle MARITZ
Position: Right-back
Nationality: Swiss
Age: 26
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2020

Maritz moved to Arsenal two summers ago after a very successful spell at Wolfsburg in Germany, where she won the Champions League and five Bundesliga titles. Noelle has established herself as the team’s first-choice right-back with a series of consistent, reliable performances from full-back, she can also play as a left-back. Maritz signed a new contract during the summer.

Interesting fact: Maritz represents Switzerland internationally but was actually born and raised in California. She is of Swiss descent and moved back to the country when she was 10 years old.

Further listening: Arseblog exclusive from December 2021

17.Lina HURTIG
Position: Left-forward / Centre-forward
Nationality: Swedish
Age: 27
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2022

The Swedish forward signed for the club from Juventus this summer. Hurtig can play all across the front line but prefers to operate from the left. Hurtig is known for her aerial ability in the penalty area as well as her willingness to commit players in one-on-one situations.

Interesting fact: At the age of 15, Hurtig scored 14 goals in 20 games for Gustafs in the Swedish second tier.

Further listening: Analysis of Hurtig’s game with Swedish journalist Mia Eriksson

18.Kaylan MARCKESE
Position: Goalkeeper
Nationality: American
Age: 24
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2022

Kaylan faced Arsenal in last season’s Champions League for Danish club Koge. The American joined the club this summer to replace Lydia Williams, who joined PSG. Marckese is the third American to play for the club after Heather O’Reilly and Tobin Heath.

Interesting fact: Kaylan made more saves than any other goalkeeper in the Champions League last season while playing for Danish club Koge, in Arsenal’s Champions League group.

19.Caitlin FOORD
Position: Left-wing / Centre-forward
Nationality: Australian
Age: 27
Joined Arsenal: January 2020

Caitlin came to England in January 2020 after a long spell playing in both America and Australia (their respective seasons do not overlap). Foord can play all across the front line or even at full-back. She can either play as a hold-up striker or a winger, where she is renowned for her eye for goal and ability to commit full-backs in one-on-one situations. Foord also signed a new contract during this summer.

Interesting fact: Caitlin became the youngest Australian to play at the World Cup when she competed at the 2011 tournament, aged 16.

Further listening: Arseblog interview with Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Lydia Williams

23.Mana IWABUCHI
Position: Attacking midfield
Nationality: Japanese
Age: 29
Joined Arsenal: Summer 2021

Arsenal made several attempts to sign Mana before they finally got their player last summer, after she had a short spell at Aston Villa. Iwabuchi is the figurehead of Japanese women’s football and one of the best creative players in the world. Iwabuchi has a low centre of gravity and an eye for a pass.

Interesting fact: Iwabuchi is nicknamed ‘Manadona’ in her native Japan, due to her ability to dribble with the ball.

Further reading: Arseblog Exclusive Interview February 2022

25.Stina BLACKSTENIUS
Position: Centre-forward
Nationality: Swedish
Age: 26
Joined Arsenal: January 2022

Blackstenius arrived in January with a reputation as Sweden’s supreme striking talent. Stina has an excellent work-rate, likes to run the channels and attack the penalty area in the manner of a traditional number 9. She does a lot of unheralded work off the ball. Her signing signalled Vivianne Miedema’s move into a deeper role.

Interesting fact: Nicknamed ‘Ribena’ by her teammates, after she explained that the pronunciation of her first name rhymed with the name of the drink.

Further listening: Analysis of Stina’s game with Swedish journalist Mia Eriksson

26.Laura WIENROITHER
Position: Right-back
Nationality: Austrian
Age: 23
Joined Arsenal: January 2022

Wienroither was the third of Arsenal’s trio of signings in January and, like Marckese, faced the club in the Champions League group stage with Hoffenheim. Laura enjoyed an excellent Euro 2022 tournament with her native Austria and she will aim to challenge Noelle Maritz for her position at right-back this season.

Interesting fact: Has scored one goal for Arsenal- an own goal while playing for her former club Hoffenheim against the Gunners in the Champions League last season.

29.Teyah GOLDIE
Position: Centre-half
Nationality: English
Age: 18

Teyah has been at Arsenal since she was seven years old and made her debut for the first team in April 2021. Goldie can also play in defensive midfield and is currently recovering from an ACL injury picked up on loan at Watford in March. Goldie signed her first professional contract with the club this summer on the day of her 18th birthday.

Interesting fact: Teyah won Watford’s Player of the Month award while on loan there last season during her first month at the club.

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C.B.

Better squad than last season?

verstellung

Actually I would say the same…except for the addition of Lina Hurtig.

Chrishgooner

I would say a better squad than at the START of last season. The January signings being very significant IMHO.

Gunner H

Spot On! Key is that we have retained our best players including our world class captain Kim, world class striker Viv, England captain Leah, Euros Player of the Tournament Meado, Swiss captain Lia, Irish captain Katie, Brazil captain (yes!) Rafa, star striker Stina, Oz stars Caitlyn & Steph, Austria stars Manu & Laura, Mana & Nolle too. Let’s also believe that Jordan & Frida will have great seasons in 2022/23 🙂

ArmsAndEther

Agreed – seeing the January signings integrated into the list makes for comforting reading – here’s to some good luck with injuries this season!

chig

Better after a year of learning and tinkering so the squad has a more clear direction and sense of key players for a new style of play. Still worry about depth in defensive midfielders though

Fun Gunner

Before I even get stuck in to the article, can I just say a big thank you, Tim. I love these and find them very reassuring.

Swnkflpflck

Based on our style of play, why didn’t we go for a goalkeeper with good distribution? For example, Hannah Hampton. Plus this would give us other options when teams press up high.

MartynJ

Hannah Hampton’s distribution stats in the WSL last season aren’t that brilliant (you can compare her with other WSL keepers at fbref.com). She’s behind Manu, who has over 99% completion for short and medium passes, and for long passes Manu’s 64% completion is double Hamptons).

MartynJ

That should say “double Hampton’s”, in case there are any rhyming slang fans reading.

Goonersince55

Lots of reasons to be optimistic. I now feel we have good cover in defence – Laura and Lotte plus Katie able to play at LB. And there are quite a few options going forward. OK, like every other top club, we’d like some more depth in midfield; nevertheless, we should be able to win most of our matches. Against the very best teams there is still a psychological hurdle, which is where Jonas really has to earn his money.

Charlz

Funny enough we have both male and female Swiss captains at the arsenal

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