Thursday, July 18, 2024

Lyon Feminin v Arsenal Preview

THE LOWDOWN
Last season, Arsenal started their UWCL group stage campaign away at Barcelona and this season the task is no easier. The Gunners visit eight-time winners and current defending champions Lyon in France on Wednesday evening. Their captain, centre-half Wendie Renard, has played in all eight of those campaigns.

It’s going to be a thorough examination for Arsenal and the group promises to be a tight and intriguing one with Juventus as the third seeds. Juve qualified from a group featuring Chelsea and Wolfsburg last season. Jonas Eidevall’s team cannot afford to consider points against Lyon disposable- because if Juventus manage it- it could tip qualification from the group into their favour.

Lyon have a string of injuries yet can still boast a star-studded starting line-up, including former Gunners favourite Danielle van de Donk. It’s a tough assignment for Arsenal with a hard-fought win at Reading in their rear-view mirror and a trip to Liverpool for a midday kickoff on Sunday too. It’s a spell of four consecutive away games.

However, this is a challenge that Arsenal should, and will, relish. Jonas Eidevall talks about his team as being on a development curve, he wants them to regularly challenge to win this competition and there is no better benchmark to set than the competition’s most successful ever team and the current holders, away from home.

TEAM NEWS
Leah Williamson and Rafaelle are both absent with foot injuries. Teyah Goldie (ACL) is also out.
Available squad
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 18.Marckese, 61.Earl
DEFENDERS: 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 26.Wienroither, 62.Reid
MIDFIELDERS: 8.Nobbs, 10.Little, 11.Miedema, 12.Maanum, 13.Wälti, 15.McCabe, 23.Iwabuchi
FORWARDS: 9.Mead, 17.Hurtig, 19.Foord, 25.Blackstenius, 59.Agyemang

A WORD FROM THE BOSS
“It’s a reality check, to see where we are and how we have developed and that is very exciting to see because, no matter what tomorrow, we will see where we are at, what we need to improve, what we are already improving and what we are good at. I am really looking forward to seeing where we are at as a team.

The Champions League is a little bit different, when you play a team like Lyon you can’t think that you will be in total control for the whole game. You have to think that you will be in control for some moments but so will Lyon. We will face more shots on target than we have been recently, we will face more set pieces than we have been recently, so this game will be very different and we need to deal with that.”

LAST TIME OUT
The two teams met in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2011 and Lyon ran out 5-2 winners on aggregate, winning 2-0 in Lyon and 3-2 at Meadow Park.

THE OPPOSITION
Their 2022 Champions League title might have been their eighth but it would have been among their sweetest. The 15-time French league Champions and eight-time UWCL winners endured a very rare malfunction in 2020-21. Not only did they not win the Champions League for the first time since 2015, they also didn’t win their domestic title for the first time since 2006, surrendering to Paris Saint Germain.

Barcelona looked set to be the new force in European football. All eyes were cast in their direction for the response. So of course, they took their domestic league title back from PSG and then defeated Barcelona 3-1 in the UWCL Final in May. For the first time, Lyon were not favourites in a European Final.

But they rebuilt and went again, under the guidance of Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon Feminin have always been the best funded women’s team on the planet and an example to clubs of far superior means that where there is a will, there is a way. Boasting stars like Renard, Hegerberg, Endler, Horan, Cascarino and Sara Dabritz, Lyon remain the Harlem Globetrotters of women’s football.

They are currently missing Ellie Carpenter, Griedge Mbock, Vanessa Giles, Perle Morroni, Sara Dabritz, Dzsenifer Maroszan, Catarina Macario, Delphine Cascarino and Ada Hegerberg due to injury while Amel Majri is returning from maternity leave. Yet their starting line-up this weekend featured Renard, Malard, van de Donk, Endler, Henry, Horan and Le Sommer. They are f*****g stacked with talent.

PLAYER TO WATCH
Steph Catley was picked to play at centre-half ahead of Jen Beattie for Sunday’s 1-0 win over Reading. The Australian is usually a left-back but has played at centre-half many times. With first choice centre-backs Leah Williamson and Rafaelle injured, how Jonas Eidevall solves this conundrum is the most intriguing thing to watch for the immediate spell of games.

Eidevall opted for Catley partly because her left-footedness makes her a better analogue for Rafaelle than Jen Beattie and because of her recovery pace- Catley is one of the finest wing-backs in the world and has the athleticism to recover into space. Wubben-Moy is the first-choice back-up in both the left and right centre-back slots and was always going to form part of the solution.

Catley’s arced passes into the left-channel have been a feature of the team’s attacking play this season. While Reading slammed at the door for the final 15 minutes of Sunday’s 1-0 victory in Berkshire, Lyon is an altogether different examination. Wubben-Moy and Catley are having to learn to be centre-half partners on the fly and there are few heights more vertigo inducing than Lyon away.

PREDICTED LINE-UP

Subs: 5.Beattie, 8.Nobbs, 12.Maanum, 16.Maritz, 17.Hurtig, 18.Mackerse, 23.Iwabuchi, 59.Agyemang, 61.Earl, 62.Reid.

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game kicks off at 8pm UK time on Wednesday night at Lyon’s Groupama Stadium. The game will be shown live, free and completely un-geoblocked on DAZN’s YouTube channel. No subscription is required to watch.

COMING UP
We’ll have post-match thoughts from Jonas Eidevall and a player on the site straight after the game, we will also have a vlog featuring Tuesday night’s open training session.

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sloshburger

looks to be a cracker!!

Bruce

COYGG

Mario

A really great and complete article.
I don’t follow as close as the men’s team so it helps me put things in perspective. Thank you! Keep up the great work!
COYG!!!!

Noddy 81

I’m already crapping it about Reinard aerial threat from corners….maybe play Hurtig from the start so we’ve got someone else that big to compete with her? Or play Beattie? But as discussed that messes up our play from the back

verstellung

Lotte will be on her IMO

Noddy 81

& more positively….up the gunners!

Gunner H

With the players / squad we have for this season, plus the excellent recent form of most of our players, we have absolutely no reason at all to fear Lyon; in fact, given their injuries outlined above, Lyon should be fearing Arsenal!

kazoo

Lyon is missing 5 starters. If Arsenal can’t beat that team now, it may never.

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