Friday, May 24, 2024

Arsenal Women: 2022-23 so far and what’s next?

The story so far
Arsenal Women are currently having their Christmas break, they restart their season on 15th January with a home game against Chelsea at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners qualified from a tough Champions League group in first place, ahead of Lyon, Juventus and FC Zurich. They are sitting 2nd in the WSL having won eight and lost one of their nine WSL games so far, they are three points behind Chelsea but with a game in hand (away at Manchester City).

However, Arsenal have not so much been bitten by the injury bug as lacerated by it. First choice centre-halves Rafaelle and Leah Williamson simultaneously spent two months on the sidelines from late September. Captain Kim Little has just returned after ten weeks out with a knee injury while Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema have both ruptured their ACLs in recent weeks. New signing Lina Hurtig also spent six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Highlights of the season so far
Undoubtedly the highlight of the season so far has been the 5-1 hammering of eight-time European champions and current holders Lyon in France in October. It teed the Gunners up for an excellent group stage which they controlled from the first game. Granted, Lyon were nursing their own injury crisis but still turned out a midfield of Henry, Horan and van de Donk and a defence featuring Wendie Renard.

STUNNING WIN | Olympique Lyonnais vs. Arsenal (UEFA Women’s Champions League 2022-23) – YouTube

Thrashing Spurs 4-0 in front of a WSL record 47,000 at Emirates Stadium was another obvious highlight. Other than that, the emergence of Frida Maanum as an indispensable part of the midfield has been notable, as well as Laura Wienroither’s development at right-back, unseating the excellent Noelle Maritz from the right-back spot. Australian defender Steph Catley has played more minutes than any other outfield player, filling in at centre-half as well as her usual left-back spot and she has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers in 2022.

Lowlights
Injuries have been an obvious lowlight, especially as they have occurred with key players in key positions. Losing the two top goal scorers and assisters over the last four seasons in Mead and Miedema seems particularly cruel. Arsenal are currently working to bring in high-profile attackers in the January transfer window to repair the damage of their long-term absences.

The sole WSL defeat, at home to Manchester United, also continues to grate. An injury depleted Gunners side led 2-1 with five minutes of normal time remaining but conceded two late setpiece goals to fumble the game. Mana Iwabuchi has also cut a solitary figure this season, even given the heavy injury load, she has only played 121 minutes in this campaign and has been an unused sub on 11 occasions. A January exit looks likely and it does beg the question as to why ties weren’t cut in the summer.

What next?
The second half of the season will be phenomenally tough. Arsenal play Manchester City and Chelsea twice each in the league and play away at Manchester United. On top of that, they will have a Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich, Roma or PSG in March. The draw for that will take place in early February (for some reason). The first half of the season was certainly kinder fixture wise.

However, hopefully new signings will be in place to negotiate a tough second half of the season, while, touch wood (!), Leah Williamson, Rafaelle and Kim Little have returned from injury. May that continue to be the case! Arsenal also have a home quarter-final in the Conti Cup against Aston Villa in late January- they did not participate in the group stage due to their participation in the Champions League. They will also play at home to either Leeds or Stoke City in the FA Cup 4th Round at the end of January.

The January transfer window runs from 1st January until 31st January and it is likely to be busy for Arsenal, deals for Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo and Dutch forward Victoria Pelova are seemingly done, while Brazilian forward Debinha is also a firm target. With a World Cup on the horizon, players such as Jordan Nobbs and Mana Iwabuchi may be open to moves to secure greater playing time.

Strap yourself in, January is going to be busy and there are still going to be four months of action after that!

We will have a full review / analysis of the first half of the season over the festive period featuring more great data viz from Yash. We also have a lot of podcasts lined up, we will have specials on new signings once they are announced, another mailbag episode in early January and we will also have something exciting around the unveiling of the new Emirates Stadium wrap in January too, as well as an exclusive player interview.

Merry Christmas / season’s greetings to all from the AWFC team at Arseblog News.

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Natty

Does loaning out Jordan Nobbs actually make any sense for the team itself? She’s still an important player off the bench. Obviously she would want more minutes in order to be considered for the World Cup. But where would she go? Everton? Villa? Westham? I mean in some sense it would be nice cause she would definitely be a high level starter on a lot of teams. Spreading out the quality. I do wonder where iwabuchi will end up. Assuming she leaves.

Neil

Although I don’t support Arsenal, I have to say that I love the coverage that this website provides for the club. I always make sure to tune into the Arsenal Women podcast which Tim Stillman presents and it is so informative about the players as well as providing insight from reporters around the world.

Thank you all so much for the content you create and as a proud fan of football both men’s and women’s it is sincerely appreciated.

Neil

No problem Tim and just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your work. My favourite Arsenal players are Leah, Kim Little and Miedema.

Chrishgooner

Merry Christmas Gooners🌲🎅💗
My sentimental side says don’t go Mana and Jordan. Realistically Mana has to go. Another dozen unused sub games will be such a waste of talent.
Oh what a decision for Jordan. Stick or twist? Personally, I’d love for her to stay and remain integral to putting a couple of trophies in the cabinet by season’s end.

Fun Gunner

Jordan’s position shows how much we have improved as a squad. That she is a game changer rather than nailed on starter.

Fun Gunner

Merry Christmas to you too, Tim and a big thank you for your comprehensive and thorough coverage of all things Arsenal Women.

Fun Gunner

Pivotal window, I reckon. I really hope that we get Debinhã as well as Pelova, but that will still not be enough. We absolutely need to win silverware this season.
I would love to see Gio recalled and Ajyeman (sp?) get some minutes too.

kazoo

Pelova has played forward–but she’s much more naturally either an attacking or play-making midfielder.

Gunner H

New signings will certainly help, but key is that our centre back pairing comprising the brilliant England Captain & the classy Brazil Captain along with our beyond sensational Club Captain Kim Little, have returned clearly fit and fabulous. I really like Mana Iwabuchi, but she of course must move in January as she is rarely playing; Jordan is a different case as she is playing often albeit always from the bench, and whilst she is an important contributor to the cause and also loved by all Arsenal fans, she needs to put herself first: she could be Captain of say,… Read more »

AussieGooner

Merry Christmas to all Gooners and to you Tim.
I thoroughly enjoy the coverage of all this Arsenal Women.

Tony

Let the coach rotate his squad. Buchimana is a fantastic player who should not be allowed to leave. Nobbs, wow, a baller. If pelova comes in and gio is brought back, the mid and attack will be bolstered. For gk, mackesse is a great stopper, let her be often used. But a striker is needed
Merry Christmas

Canadagoon

Can someone explain for me what signing Sabrina D’Angelo means for the squad, where does she figure to slot in at GK? We just added Mackerse this summer and Stenson is on loan. As a Canadian I’m thrilled, just confused.

Fun Gunner

My guess is that Stenson is not expected to have a long term future at the club.

James

I think Stenson is one of the players that fills the “homegrown” quota? If they move her on do they need another homegrown player especially if they sign 3 more foreign players in Pelova, D’Angelo and Debinha?

James

Competition for Manu I imagine. She also has recovered from a few ACL injuries apparently. I guess the more examples of successful ACL injury recoveries in the squad the better.

Salvador Berzunza

Jordan need to be quick and proactive looking for a 90 minutes play every weekend , big rumours Bethany England did it with Spurs, Rachel Daly is the big star in Aston Villa, those two already catch Sarina’s eyes for World Cup

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