Arsenal play host to London rival’s Chelsea this weekend in what is a huge game in the Women’s Super League. Joe Montemurro’s side are seeking to bounce back from last weekends defeat to Manchester United away from home.
Chelsea are coming into the game with confidence after beating Everton 4-0 last Sunday afternoon due to Ji So-yun, Pernille Harder and a Bethany England brace.
Arsenal haven’t beaten the Blues since October 2018 in a 5-0 victory as Jordan Nobbs and Vivianne Miedema hit a brace and Kim Little scored from the penalty spot.
Jordan Nobbs, Lisa Evans, Noelle Maritz and Steph Catley all returned to training this week to continue their rehabilitation process from injury.
Kim Little and Jill Roord returned to action last weekend coming on as second half substitutes and they could play from the start against the Women’s Super League Champions at Meadow Park.
Jennifer Beattie also trained this week after missing the Manchester United clash last weekend but Joe Montemurro confirmed she Isn’t fit to play as Viktoria Schnaderbeck is set to retain her place alongside Leah Williamson.
Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson signed a new contract at the club this week so they will be boosted by that going into the game.
The Blues have a big squad and have plenty of options to choose from however Fran Kirby who has an ankle injury will miss the clash as will Guro Reiten who is also out with an injury.
Last Time They Met
They met one another in the Continetal Cup last month with Chelsea winning 4-1. Guro Reiten netted twice for the Blues after Magdalena Eriksson’s opener was cancelled out by Caitlin Foord, and Beth England added a late fourth.
The Gunners also met Chelsea three times in 2019-20 and lost out in all three fixtures.
They met twice in the WSL losing 2-1 away from home, Danielle van de Donk put the Gunners ahead in the 9th minute but Beth England equalised in the 57th before Maria Thorisdóttir struck a late blow for the Gunners in the 87th.
When the sides met at Meadow Park in January Emma Hayes side blew Joe Montemurro’s troops away 4-1.
Sam Kerr grabbed her first Chelsea goal as the Blues scored three times in ten first-half minutes Kerr headed in Chelsea’s second goal from a far-post centre by Guro Reiten three minutes after Beth England’s sumptuous curled opener. Sophie Ingle then made it 3-0 to the visitors with a glorious 20-yard left-foot, half-volley into the top corner inside 20 minutes. Reiten’s header from Jonna Andersson’s cross extended the lead further after the break. Beth Mead gave a glimmer of hope for Arsenal with a tame header that slipped through keeper Ann-Katrin Berger’s grasp.
They then met in Nottingham for the Continental Cup final as a Bethany England double in-between a Leah Williamson goal saw the Blues come away with the trophy for the first time in their history.
Potential Match Winners
Vivianne Miedema – Arsenal are expected to be on the back foot and to win this game their defensive structure and balance will need to be right.
However Chelsea will be focusing on doubling up with their marking on Miedema but she will be key for Arsenal when they get their chances Miedema will be expected to take them.
She has won the Golden Boot in two consecutive seasons but last season failed to register a single goal against Chelsea in four meetings.
How To Watch
The game is being shown live on BT Sport for viewers in the UK and the FA player for those supporters outside of the United Kingdom.
Kim Little – Chelsea’s midfield is one of the best in the business so Arsenal’s captain will have to be alert in this fixture.
Little’s leadership will be crucial in this game and her passing range will be vital to try and break down what is a stubborn Chelsea defence.
Bethany England – Fresh of two goals against Everton last weekend England will be full of confidence going into the game.
England was the hero of Chelsea’s Continental Cup victory against the Gunners in February scoring twice, she also scored at Meadow Park in Chelsea’s 4-1 victory in January.
Williamson and Schnaderbeck will have to be alert to keep the English International striker at bay with her pace and running in behind.
Pernille Harder- Harder scored 38 goals in all competitions as Wolfsburg won the double in Germany and reached the final of the Champions League, where they were beaten 3-1 by Lyon last season.
The Danish International then made her move to Chelsea this summer from the Bundesliga Frauen and has two goals in five WSL matches this season as well as one assist.
Harder scored against Everton last weekend so will be full of confidence going into the match.
What’s Been Said
Joe Montemurro confirmed that Lisa Evans, Jordan Nobbs, Jennifer Beattie, Noelle Maritz and Steph Catley are out of the game.
On the game itself the Australian said “Every week in this league is big. I keep saying the Readings, the West Hams, these teams are all tricky.”
“They’re all big games and you need to prepare accordingly, we need to be ready for these challenges and these big occasions and in the end we’ll see whether we are capable in the big moments.”
Emma Hayes said after the Everton game “We’re starting to find our stride. What I’ve learnt about coaching world-class players and I have a squad of them, is that if they have the ability to adapt, grow, improve and stay present to give as much to the team as they possibly can, then we have the best possible chance of going where we’re going.”
“Managing top talent is not easy but I must credit all of them for being able to do all the things I must mention.”
“If I have a group of players that keep progressing daily in a competitive environment and keep giving, then it doesn’t matter who plays in this team,”
Bethany England added ‘The girls put in a classy performance last weekend, in this team there is so much talent, we are a great bunch of girls, we believe in each other and it’s good to see that when we are getting opportunities, we are taking them”.