Monday, April 22, 2024

Arsenal v Leeds United Women Preview

Arsenal kick off their 2023 FA Cup campaign with a home game against fourth tier Leeds United on Sunday afternoon at Meadow Park. It ought to represent a chance for Jonas Eidevall to rotate his team and find starts for new signings Victoria Pelova, Katherine Kuhl, Gio and Sabrina D’Angelo. The visitors caused something of an upset in the third round by defeating Stoke City.

The match is a repeat of the 2006 FA Cup Final, which saw the Gunners win 5-0 . Arsenal have not won this trophy since 2016 which, given their status as record 14 times winners, is a drought where this tournament is concerned. Arsenal should be looking at negotiating this round with bags to spare with the large gap between the two teams in 2023.

Arsenal negotiated their path to the semi-finals of the Continental Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Aston Villa in midweek and this game, realistically, ought to see the Gunners progress to the 5th Round of the FA Cup without too many troubles. One of the curiosities of the Conti Cup was new goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo starting in goal.

The Canadian is a different type of goalkeeper to Manu Zinsberger, whose contract expires in the summer, not least her style of long distribution. It marks another move towards Arsenal having those more direct tools in their style with Frida Maanum, Lina Hurtig, Caitlin Foord and Stina Blackstenius in the forward line now.

Lia Wälti will miss the game with “a small injury” according to Jonas Eidevall, but is expected to be ok for next week’s trip to West Ham. Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema (both ACL) are the only players missing. Teyah Goldie is also out.

Available squad
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 14.D’Angelo, 18.Marckese
DEFENDERS: 2.Rafaelle, 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 6.Williamson, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 26.Wienroither
MIDFIELDERS: 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 21.Pelova, 22.Kuhl
FORWARDS: 15.McCabe, 17.Hurtig, 19.Foord, 20.Gio, 25.Blackstenius

“It was important we could see some of the new players today against Aston Villa and not wait until Leeds on Sunday, because we know today is a tough game. Therefore it is important that we invest that faith in them and that was very valuable for the team once they got settled in, you could really see the qualities these players will bring us. Gio couldn’t play today because she was cup tied but hopefully you will see her on Sunday.”

The teams last met in May 2010 in the Women’s Premier League when Arsenal Ladies beat Leeds (Leeds Carnegie as they were then known) 3-0 at Emirates Stadium in front of 3,572 fans- the Gunners lifted the Women’s Premier League trophy after the match. Kim Little scored a brace on that particular day with Gemma Davison scoring the third.

The teams also met in the final in 2006 and 2008, Arsenal winning the former 5-0 at the Den and the latter 4-1 at the City Ground.

Leeds have had a fluctuating history, on one hand, they have boasted talent like Steph Houghton, Ellen White, Sue Smith, Jess Clarke and Carly Telford and have been managed by the legendary Julie Chipchase- current Arsenal coach Leanne Hall was also once their assistant manager. They met Arsenal in the 2006 FA Cup Final, though they were thrashed 5-0 at The Den with goals from Julie Fleeting, Kelly Smith, Rachel Yankey, Lianne Sanderson and an own goal from current Aston Villa boss Carla Ward.

In 2005, then owner Ken Bates cut the women’s team adrift from the men’s operation and they survived on sponsorship funding. They remained on a competitive footing until their application to join the nascent Women’s Super League in 2011 was rejected. Following this, Leeds United withdrew funding and permission to use the name Leeds United in 2014.

The club were again kept alive by volunteers who created Leeds Ladies. In 2017, they were again welcomed back into the Leeds United brand by new owner Andrea Radrizzani. They currently play in the FA Women’s National League Division 1 North, a far cry from the level that saw them attract talent like White, Houghton and Telford.

Ordinarily, I would link to a recent tweet from the opposition here. Leeds United Women do not have a Twitter feed and the overall Leeds United FC Twitter feed has no mention of this game currently.


After being cup tied for Wednesday night’s Conti Cup tie against Aston Villa, Brazilian winger Gio will almost certainly start this game and make her debut for the club. The 19-year-old is one of the most exciting teenage footballers in the world and she already has a lot of experience for her age as a full Brazilian international and having scored 11 goals in 31 games on loan at Levante last season.

Gio is a multi-functional forward who can play across the forward line but one of her greatest strength is the speed with which she can carry the ball. She is one of those players who, somehow, looks faster with the ball at her feet than without. Patience will be required with the teenager, who is still quite raw in many senses.

But as Eidevall seeks to build a more explosive attack, it is not difficult to understand how Gio fits into that vision. She is devastating on the counter-attack which fits the counterpressing style Eidevall has implemented in the team. It’s likely that she will assume a “supersub” role for the remainder of this season but Leeds presents an opportunity for her to start and to impress.


Subs: 1.Zinsberger, 2.Rafaelle, 6.Williamson, 12.Maanum, 15.McCabe, 18.Marckese, 19.Foord, 26.Wienroither

The game takes place at Meadow Park on Sunday at 2pm. It will be streamed live on

There will be the usual match reaction from Jonas Eidevall on the site on Sunday afternoon. We also ought to have a good interview for you coming up in February.

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Wow, I didn’t realise that I could think even less of Ken “Master” Bates than I already did!

Fun Gunner

Go for it, girls! I’m really looking forward to seeing our new signings again after their excellent performances last Thursday. And Gio, too – you have got us all very excited, Tim! Potential banana skin if we make lots of changes (which is the right thing to do) because we face a settled team who have nothing to lose. We will win, but there will be heart-in-mouth moments!

Fun Gunner

Also, @Tim – please let us know, should we give up all hope of getting Lacasse or someone similar?


The LUFC twitter account did post some stuff on Friday, including a short bts video:


If Marckese has a future at the club as the backup goalkeeper beyond the summer, this is an ideal match for her to play.


Is the game being shown live on TV or online?

Fun Gunner

Streamed live on


Thanks. I noticed about three minutes after asking the question! I’m getting old.

Fun Gunner

And Chelsea can keep their cootie mitts off Katie McCabe.


I think they were hoping we would take the money in order for us to get the “prolific goalscorer” we are after. Chelsea thinking we might be desperate for money I guess

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