Arsenal play at home to West Ham United in the WSL on Sunday afternoon with the aim of staying in touch with leaders Chelsea at the top of the able with the teams due to meet at Emirates Stadium after the international break.
The Gunners are on a run of seven consecutive victories though they were made to sweat for a 2-1 victory over Southampton in the Conti Cup on Thursday evening with Amanda Ilestedt scoring a stoppage time winner. Arsenal were far from their best on Thursday, albeit with a heavily rotated side.
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The Irons, meanwhile, have achieved the opposite results to their hosts on Sunday, with five defeats, one draw and one victory so far this season. However, Jonas Eidevall warned against any complacency in his pre-match press conference, pointing out that West Ham cause problems to each team they face.
A victory against Rehanne Skinner’s side would complete a perfect record since the last international break in October, even if there is still the sense that Arsenal, who signed five new players and lost both their first choice centre-halves this summer, are still finding their feet.
Lotte Wubben-Moy returns to the squad after being rested for Thursday’s Conti Cup tie, while Jonas Eidevall is hopeful that Kim Little will be fit enough to return to the squad. A decision will be made on Stina Blackstenius on Sunday morning after taking a knock to her knee against Brighton. Leah Williamson, Teyah Goldie and Laura Wienroither continue their rehabilitation from ACL injuries.
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger, 14.D’Angelo, 40.Williams
DEFENDERS: 3.Wubben-Moy, 5.Beattie, 7.Catley, 16.Maritz, 27.Codina, 28.Ilestedt
MIDFIELDERS: 10.Little, 12.Maanum, 13.Walti, 15.McCabe, 21.Pelova, 22.Kuhl, 32.Cooney-Cross, 53.Lia
FORWARDS:, 9.Mead, 11.Miedema, 17.Hurtig, 19.Foord, 23.Russo, 24.Lacasse, 25.Blackstenius
Unavailable: 6.Williamson, 26.Wienroither, 29.Goldie
A WORD FROM THE BOSS
‘West Ham’s performances have been really strong. I saw them against Aston Villa and they were very unlucky to come away with no points. It shows it is not as easy to look at the league table and draw conclusions about who is a weak and strong team.
‘West Ham are a good, competitive team. They are well organised and they work hard together, they will pose difficult questions to any team. Their performances demand respect and we need to be a very good version of ourselves on Sunday.’
LAST TIME OUT
Arsenal were 3-1 winners when the teams met at Meadow Park last October. The Gunners went a goal down to a strike from Brynjasdottir before goals from Jordan Nobbs, Stina Blackstenius and Frida Maanum sealed the points for Arsenal. The teams drew 0-0 at Dagenham in February.
Since entering the WSL in 2018, West Ham have been a picture of inconsistency and high turnover. Every summer seems to yield high turnover in recruitment terms and they have changed their manager in each of the last two summers now, with former Spurs boss Rehanne Skinner now in position.
In fairness, Skinner was a very solid appointment after a year of drift under Paul Konchesky following Oli Harder’s departure in the summer of 2022. The Irons are yet to get going under Skinner, despite a promising 2-0 win over Brighton in the second weekend of the season. Since then, they only have one point from their last five games.
Here are 3⃣ things you need to know ahead of our #BarclaysWSL match against Arsenal this Sunday! 👊
— West Ham United Women (@westhamwomen) November 24, 2023
Those five games include away matches at Chelsea and Manchester United and they were very unfortunate to lose 3-2 to Aston Villa in a yo-yo game last weekend. They are missing Icelandic midfielder Dagny Brynjasdottir who is on maternity leave, she was one of their most dangerous attackers last season. Though in Vivienne Ayisi they still pack plenty of punch on the counter-attack.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Beth Mead did not make it off the bench during Thursday night’s victory over Southampton and that is a fair indicator that she will start this game. Mead has been stepping up her recovery in recent weeks and, obviously, she is a key player for Arsenal, especially when it comes to end product, which Arsenal have not produced enough of this season.
However, it is also the way Mead demands the ball as quickly as possible that quickens up the pace of the Arsenal attack. In the Bristol City Conti Cup match Arsenal’s attack was far slicker, thanks in no small part to Mead cajoling her teammates not to take extra touches and to deliver the ball as quickly as possible.
At Brighton, Arsenal were not good enough at finding her runs in behind the full-backs and then she tired in the second half. With Lacasse in the squad, Eidevall has a game sharing model available to him while Mead continues to work up to full sharpness. I expect her to start this game and don’t be surprised if she opens her account for the season in the process.
Subs: 5.Beattie, 11.Miedema, 12.Maanum, 14.D’Angelo, 16.Maritz, 17.Hurtig, 22.Kuhl, 24.Lacasse, 27.Codina
HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game kicks off at 2pm on Sunday at a sold out Meadow Park, the game will be shown live on the FA Player, which is free to view, all you have to do is register an account. The game will also be shown live on Arsenal.com and the Arsenal app.
We will have match reaction on the site from Jonas Eidevall on the site on Sunday shortly after the game. We will also have an Arsenal Women Arsecast or two during the international break.