Friday, June 21, 2024

Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion Women Preview

THE LOWDOWN
Arsenal take on Brighton at Meadow Park on Saturday afternoon for the final game of the WSL season. But all of the focus will be on Vivianne Miedema, who will play her final game for the club after a glittering seven year spell in North London. Arsenal announced on Monday that Miedema’s contract, which expires this summer, will not be extended.

It’s a decision that has set shockwaves through the Arsenal fan base and it will create greater scrutiny on the team’s exploits early next season for sure. There will be time for those recriminations in the wake of this game, but on Saturday, those at Meadow Park will have the chance to bid the player, who is the league’s top goal scorer, a heartfelt goodbye.

In the women’s game, individuals matter more than in the men’s game. Individual players are often the catalyst for fans to become interested in the team in the first place. Simply, there are thousands of Arsenal Women fans who support Arsenal Women because Vivianne Miedema plays for them, so the shock of her departure has resonated.

More widely for Arsenal, there is now nothing riding on this fixture, Chelsea’s 1-0 win over Spurs on Wednesday night has confirmed what has been obvious for a few months now, that Arsenal will finish 3rd in the WSL. It’s not the season the Gunners wanted in the league or in Europe but they will still want to go out on a high in front of their own supporters.

TEAM NEWS


Lotte Wubben-Moy will miss the game again with a foot injury but Vivianne Miedema should return after a knee injury kept her from the team last week. Lia Walti (knee), Lina Hurtig (personal reasons), Amanda Ilestedt (maternity leave) and Kaylan Marckese (knee) are all unavailable. Cloe Lacasse is suspended. Sabrina D’Angelo and Vivianne Miedema will feature in the Arsenal squad for the final time ahead of summer departures. Arseblog News expects Stina Blackstenius to extend her contract and for an announcement to follow next week.

Available Squad
Goalkeepers: 1.Zinsberger 14.D’Angelo 40.Williams
Defenders: 2.Fox 6.Williamson 7.Catley 15.McCabe 26.Wienroither 27.Codina 29.Goldie 62.Reid
Midfielders: 10.Little(c) 12.Maanum 21.Pelova 32.Cooney-Cross
Forwards: 9.Mead 11.Miedema 19.Foord 23.Russo 25.Blackstenius 59.Agyemang

A WORD FROM THE BOSS
‘Brighton are a hardworking team, they obviously changed details in the way they play with the managerial change in the season. They are well organised, hard-working, they are very good in their crossing game. You have to defend crosses very well against them.

‘From a strength perspective as a team, they are very solid. They have been very good in their crossing game, they are direct team. They have better results away than at home and potentially, when you are playing away, you get more of a chance to be on the counter and you get more space in those moments.

‘When you are as quick as a team and as quick at getting forward as Brighton but I don’t see much difference between how they approach games home and away. We know it is going to be a tough opponent and we need to be very good to get a result and that is our plan.’

LAST TIME OUT
In the reverse fixture in November, Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Stina Blackstenius, Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum. Last season, the Gunners opened their campaign with a 4-0 victory over Brighton at Meadow Park, the goal scorers on that day were Kim Little, Stina Blackstenius and a Beth Mead brace.

THE OPPOSITION
Brighton have endured another season that was marked by managerial upheaval. Since Hope Powell departed the club in late 2022, the club have struggled to get a coaching appointment right. They started with German coach Jens Scheuer but he only lasted ten games before being replaced by Mel Phillips last winter.

Phillips was surprisingly sacked in February despite being clear of the relegation zone, though the underlying numbers- which Brighton takes seriously as a club- were less forgiving as the Seagulls failed to properly integrate a raft of new players. Under interim coach Mikey Harris, they have become a little more direct in an attempt to stay away from the relegation fight.

They have endured some indifferent results recently as the reality of Bristol City’s relegation became more stark. Draws with West Ham and Spurs and defeats at home to Everton and Aston Villa suggest a club that is winding the season down and probably a squad of players that knows it is in for another significant summer overhaul and with another new coach to boot.

PLAYER TO WATCH


All eyes will be on Vivianne Miedema, for obvious reasons. A player who holds the WSL goal scoring record and whom many fans do not want to see the back of, will get one last run out in an Arsenal shirt, likely as a number 10 behind the striker. Arsenal fans the world over will be hopeful of one last display of Miedema magic.

Expect an outpouring of emotion from the supporters at Meadow Park and Miedema has one last chance to put on a show in the red and white. Though she has struggled to come back fully from her knee injury this season and her number of games has been limited as a result, it still doesn’t feel right that she only has one goal in this campaign. One last goal (or hat-trick) in front of an adoring Meadow Park would would be a fitting send off.

PREDICTED LINE-UPS

Subs: 1.Zinsberger, 7.Catley, 12.Maanum, 23.Russo, 26.Wienroither, 29.Goldie, 32.Cooney-Cross, 40.Williams, 59.Agyemang.

HOW TO CATCH THE GAME
The game takes place at Meadow Park at 3pm on Saturday and will be shown live on the FA Player app, which is free of charge and available in most global territories.

COMING UP
We will have every word of Jonas Eidevall’s post-match press conference, as well as Aidan Gibson’s usual on the whistle match report. We will have a new Arsenal Women Arsecast next week. And keep it here, for the summer. We will be across all the news and try to stay ahead of the pack on breaking transfer developments and the like. And thank you all for your support this season and continuing to read and listen to us, we really appreciate it 🙂

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Bruce

End with a win.

Fun Gunner

What a shame for Lotte Wubben-Moy to miss this game. I hope she’s ok for the Lionesses fixtures. Very emotional end to the season. I never thought I’d be waving Miedema goodbye. I hope we can have a really good, fluent, high-scoring performance with a goal or two for our Dutch legend.

GoonerSuz

Really hope Miedema gets a chance to say her farewell on the pitch. Whilst there’s no room for sentimentality in professional sport, it was very sad to see Steph Houghton retire at City without getting to play one last time. If Viv is fit she deserves the opportunity.

Fun Gunner

Hear, hear!

Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

Tim (and Aidan) many thanks for the excellent coverage this season, and previous seasons as well, but this season has seen an amazing array of posts, especially game analysis.

dontthinkshoot

Well said, completely agree!

Pahtotheworld

Raiding my dad’s closet for an orange shirt

Goonersince55

I’d like to Viv on from the start and then taken off after an hour or so to a standing ovation.

Goonersince55

“see Viv” trying to write when at a pub gig with the bass guitar right in my ear!

Colin Carey

Blackstenius v Russo? Or is it the case that Russo has drawn the short straw, yet again. I bet she’s beginning to wish she’d stayed at ManU.
I’ve lost all interest in men’s football. I’m beginning to feel the same with Arsenal women’s.

dontthinkshoot

They’re very different styles of player and we play them in very different ways.

Fun Gunner

Lovely news about Stina, but I won’t celebrate until the official announcement!

Amor pelo futebol feminino

I’m like you, I noticed yesterday that the photos published from the training, Stina doesn’t appear, so it’s better to wait

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