Friday, April 12, 2024

West Ham United Women v Arsenal Preview

THE LOWDOWN
Arsenal travel to West Ham United in the WSL on Sunday lunchtime aiming to continue their perfect start to 2024. On this weekend last season, an injury ravaged Gunners side went to Dagenham and were held to a 0-0 draw in the immediate wake of injuries to Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema and a transfer window that saw the club fail to land an attacker.

This time around, Mead and Miedema are back, the former scoring her first goal since returning from injury in last weekend’s 2-0 win at Liverpool. Arseblog News spoke to Jonas Eidevall on Friday about a greater feeling of serenity in the January market with most of Arsenal’s incoming and outgoing business sorted in the first half of the month.

‘We needed to let her have that opportunity to repay everything Jen has done for us.’ Arseblog exclusive as Jonas Eidevall pays tribute to departing Jen Beattie

However, it has also been a sad week at the club with the departure of club legend Jen Beattie to Bay FC. Eidevall spoke exclusively to Arseblog News about Beattie leaving and he was effusive in his appraisal of the Scottish defender. ‘Jen has given so much and this was a really good opportunity for her coming at a stage in her career when you don’t know if that is going to come again.’

Beattie’s presence in the squad will be missed and it was nice that she got the chance to see how highly regarded she is by Arsenal fans. But it is back to business on Sunday and with the Gunners trailing Chelsea by three points at the top of the table, nothing less than a victory will do in East London.

TEAM NEWS


Arsenal will be without Jen Beattie following her departure to Bay FC, while Sarah Bouhaddi is available and registered. Katie McCabe serves a one-match suspension after picking up her fifth yellow card of the season at Liverpool last week. Lina Hurtig (back), Laura Wienroither (ACL) and Teyah Goldie (ACL) are out.

Available squad
GOALKEEPERS: 1.Zinsberger 14.D’Angelo 40.Williams 86.Bouhaddi
DEFENDERS: 2.Fox 3.Wubben-Moy 6.Williamson 7.Catley 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
‘West Ham remind me a lot of how they looked in my first season here when Oli Harder was their coach. They play a very similar style of football now and the same formation and they have a lot of players well suited to doing that. When people say they had a quiet summer transfer window they still brought in some really high quality players like Ueki for example, their 9 who is a really good player.

’In this window they bring in players like (Katrina Gorry) and Kristie Mewis who have had tremendous international careers as well, they are a really strong team with a strong squad. The only thing missing for them is that they haven’t been rewarded for their performances with points, as a team they keep going and keep believing and that is usually a really good sign for them.’

LAST TIME OUT
When the teams met in November at Meadow Park, Arsenal were 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Frida Maanum and a brace from Beth Mead. Last season, this fixture finished 0-0 in Dagenham.

THE OPPOSITION
West Ham sit second bottom of the WSL but they are fifth in the table when it comes to expected goals, which supports Jonas Eidevall’s assertion that their results and their performances have not matched. With Vivienne Asseyi and Ueki upfront, West Ham pack a punch on the counter attack.

In the game between the teams in November, West Ham offered a really strong second half performance and hit the woodwork twice, albeit they had already succumbed to three first half Gunners goals at that point. West Ham’s slow start to the season was partially attributable to a disorganised summer.

Boss Rehanne Skinner was only appointed late in the summer following the departure of Paul Konchesky and the Irons had a quiet summer transfer window as a result. A victory at bottom of the table Bristol City last weekend significantly eased relegation fears, as have the January recruitment of Katrina Gorry, Kristie Mewis and Shelina Zadorsky.

PLAYER TO WATCH


Caitlin Foord has scored three goals in her last three games now. Arseblog News asked Jonas Eidevall last weekend whether work had been done to get Foord into goal scoring positions over the winter break, especially as the Australian’s goals against Everton and Liverpool were basically identical.

‘I think what you can see that was really important in our forwards positioning is that they get in front of goal and don’t keep hanging out wide. I think you see that with her goal against Everton and the goal today. She is a wide forward but she gets into really central positions to finish off attacks and in that part, she has worked hard.’

Arsenal will want Foord to continue getting into positions in the six yard box as West Ham are likely to sit deep and look to frustrate Arsenal. Miedema getting back on the score sheet understandably took the headlines last weekend, Mead’s scoring rate is holding to her usual level, Foord and Russo upping the ante in front of goal will be key elements for the second half of the season.

PREDICTED LINE UP

Subs: 6.Williamson 10.Little 12.Maanum 14.D’Angelo 24.Lacasse 25.Blackstenius 27.Codina 32.Cooney-Cross 86.Bouhaddi

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game is sold out at the Chigwell Construction Stadium at 12.30pm and will be shown live on BBC Two in the UK.

COMING UP
We will have every word of Jonas Eidevall’s post-match press conference on the site on Sunday afternoon. We will also have an episode of the Arsenal Women Arsecast on Monday featuring an exclusive interview with Arsenal goalkeeper Manu Zinsberger.

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Fun Gunner

Definitely the toughest opposition any of the top three are facing this weekend. It’s just what we need. I only hope the girls’ finishing practice finally pays off.
Viv to tear it up, please, o ye Gods of football.

Peter Story Teller

Have you noticed if you squint at Tim’s line up graphic it almost looks like our girls are wearing West Ham shirts? Ok I’ll get my coat! 🙂

dontthinkshoot

Bloody glad it’s on BBC so I can catch it for once!

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