Monday, July 15, 2024

London City Lionesses v Arsenal Preview

THE LOWDOWN
Arsenal have a big week in the domestic cups after their league title dream took an almost certainly fatal blow at West Ham on Sunday. While the Gunners entertain Manchester City in the FA Cup on Sunday, the full focus is on a trip to Dartford for the Conti Cup quarter-final away at London City Lionesses on Wednesday evening.

Arsenal are the current holders and trailing Chelsea by six points in the WSL as well as no Champions League football means this tournament takes on a renewed importance. Jonas Eidevall’s team will be big favourites to progress against Championship opposition, failure to do so would set alarm bells ringing in North London.

Eidevall might well use the game to mix his team selection up as he did in the group stages and give an opportunity for some players who have spent time on the fringes of the team in recent weeks the opportunity to stake their claim for the weekend. Players like Cloe Lacasse, Stina Blackstenius and Frida Maanum might look at the team’s struggle to score against low defensive blocks and consider this an opportunity to propose themselves as a solution to the issue.

In truth, this game ought to represent an opportunity for Arsenal to dust themselves down from Sunday and progress to the semi-finals. The Gunners will also be reunited with some familiar faces at Princes Park with Emma Mukandi (nee Mitchell) and Danielle Carter in the team.

TEAM NEWS


Katie McCabe returns from a one-match suspension served at the West Ham game on Sunday. Lina Hurtig (back), Laura Wienroither (ACL) and Teyah Goldie (ACL) are out. Eidevall will likely mix up his team selection with the likes of Sabrina D’Angelo, Cloe Lacasse, Frida Maanum, Laia Codina, Kim Little and Kyra Cooney-Cross vying for starts.

Available squad
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger 14.D’Angelo 40.Williams 86.Bouhaddi
DEFENDERS: 2.Fox 3.Wubben-Moy 6.Williamson 7.Catley 15.McCabe 27.Codina 28.Ilestedt
MIDFIELDERS: 10.Little 12.Maanum 13.Walti 21.Pelova 32.Cooney-Cross 53.Lia
FORWARDS: 9.Mead 11.Miedema 19.Foord 23.Russo 24.Lacasse 25.Blackstenius

A WORD FROM THE BOSS

‘They are a side with lots of WSL and international experience, both from the players and the manager. We expect a competitive game and we need to play our best to get the result we want. We have a competitive squad so I don’t see us having two line ups, one for the League and one for the Conti Cup. We need to have competition in the squad and we saw that at the weekend too, players coming on from the bench and doing very well. Competition needs to be alive in the squad and we will need all our players at different stages of the season to step in and step up for the team, I am going to name as strong a team as possible for tomorrow and what that is, is for me to decide.’

LAST TIME OUT
The teams last met at Meadow Park in the 5th round of the FA Cup in March 2022, which Arsenal won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Vivianne Miedema. The teams also met in the Conti Cup group stages at Princes Park in November 2020, Arsenal were 4-0 winners and Miedema scored all four on that occasion.

HIGHLIGHTS | London City Lionesses vs Arsenal (0-4) | Miedema scores four! – YouTube

THE OPPOSITION
After a strong campaign last season, LCL have struggled in the Championship this season and lie in 10th place, just two points from the bottom of the league having played one match more than basement club Watford. This despite heavy investment in WSL talents like Emma Mukandi, Dan Carter, Ruesha Littlejohn and goalkeeper Grace Moloney.

The club was recently taken over by US businesswoman Michele Kang, who is also the majority owner of NWSL franchise Washington Spirit and is about to become the majority owner of European giants Lyon too. LCL are a sort of breakaway club having broken away from the ownership of Millwall Lionesses in 2019 to form an independent women’s team.

Last season LCL were very much in the promotion race in the Championship but would have been unlikely to have been granted a license in the WSL since Princes Park doesn’t meet current ground regulations. They experienced a very high turnover of players last summer and saw coach Mel Phillips leave the club midway through last season.

PLAYER TO WATCH


Such is the level of competition in the Arsenal midfield now that Kim Little has not been able to break her way back into the starting line-up since returning from injury a fortnight ago due, largely, to the excellence of Victoria Pelova in that role. However, Pelova did not enjoy such a strong game at West Ham and was subbed just after the hour mark.

The competition is so high that a slightly below par 60 minutes is all it might need to lose your place. I am certain that Kim Little will partner Kyra Cooney-Cross in the middle of the park and Little might be able to win her place back in the team from there.

Lia Walti’s performance at West Ham was better which might mean that Kyra Cooney-Cross doesn’t have the same level of opportunity but a good performance from this duo in the engine room might convince Eidevall that continuity is the way to go against Manchester City on Sunday. Lots of players are competing for the right to start against City on Sunday.

PREDICTED LINE UP

Subs: 1.Zinsberger 6.Williamson 9.Mead 11.Miedema 13.Walti 19.Foord 21.Pelova 23.Russo 40.Williams

HOW TO WATCH
The game is sold out at Princes Park and kicks off at 7pm on Wednesday evening. The match is being shown live on the FA Player.

COMING UP
Hopefully you saw the episode of the Arsenal Women Arsecast released on Tuesday with Miriam Walker Khan of Sky Sports and Nirali Sisodia from the Kickback podcast about South Asian girls’ participation in football. We will also have an exclusive interview with Arsenal goalkeeper Manu Zinsberger on the podcast on Thursday.

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Bruce

COYGG

Foggy

Bit depressing that Princes Park wouldn’t meet ground regs when it such a nice ground. Stupid regulations

Swedish gunner

Let me guess… Stina will score a hattrick and Lacasse will getting the assist:s for all of them and KCC bossing the midfield, all three will be benched on sunday! Its almost like Jonas has his conti cup-team and wsl-team and that is the worst thing you can do as a coach. If we make it to the final he better play his ” conti cup-team” all the way who actually are playing pretty good compared to the wsl-team. Yes they are facing weaker teams but I still think Stina and Lacasse are looking lively together and creating a lot… Read more »

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