WSL Preview: Arsenal

WSL Champions, Arsenal Women. Photo from Facebook
WSL Champions, Arsenal Women. Photo from Facebook

It is that time of year again that strikes fear into the  heart of every football fan. That’s right folks the transfer window is open! Well actually it has been open for a while but now the World Cup is over we can get excited about it, or run and head under the bed in dread. However you wish to deal with it.

Transfer Window definition. Noun: a period of time where your club can get rid of deadwood and bring in fresh new talent.

Actual definition:  your club makes some dicey new signings in a panic on the final day and you pray they don’t get rid of the players who name is on your new £80 shirt. (standard practice for West Ham’s men’s team until recently).

In the Women’s league, it can be a little less dramatic, though ask any Birmingham City fans if their window has been smooth sailing. The response may result in you getting hit in the face with a pikelet. {Pikelet -Noun: – A crumpet or crumpet-like bread in areas of Great Britain}

Unlike in the male leagues, our players in our league don’t move around for the big bucks. Spoiler alert, it’s because there isn’t any. Players move for other prized aspects of the game instead: Game time, fellow teammates, playing for the club you’ve always supported or the prestige of playing European football.

The point of this post is to run down what the In’s and Outs, and how all this is going to shake up the league. I will be kicking things off with the defending champions, Arsenal.

Arsenal’s transfer strategy seems pretty simple. When a Bayern Munich players contract expires, lure them over to Borehamwood.  In fairness, it’s a strategy that’s worked brilliantly for them in the past. The double signing of Lisa Evans and Dutch wonderkind Vivianne Miedema in 2017, being an example. It was the latter’s goal scoring prowess securing them the league title and back into the Champions League.

Photo: @ArsenalWFC

Three players have made the switch from the land of the BMW to the home of slapstick. (For my International readers and British readers with no sense of local geography. Borehamwood is home to a set of iconic film studios known as Elstree).

Manuela Zinsberger, Leonie Maier and Jill Roord all internationals for their respective countries brought in to strengthen an already tight Arsenal squad. Arsenal fans will be over the moon with the signing of Roord who had an absolute belter of a World Cup with the Netherlands. Winning silver alongside fellow Arsenal teammates Miedema and Danielle Van De Donk.

Another addition to the Arsenal squad that came as surprise was the return of defence stalwart Jen Beattie. Beattie who played for Arsenal during their golden years of the late 2000s comes back into the fold after leaving Manchester City. Many have questioned why the Scottish International would basically be making a like for like swap in terms of team quality and European play, as well as what could potentially turn into less playing time. One thing is certain that the “Tank” will be welcomed back with open arms.

In terms of losses, Arsenal have mainly kept the squad that won them the league. Only Losing a few younger Academy players that did not really play much of a role in the squad. The Gunners are also banking on Jordan Nobbs being fit again from her ACL sooner rather than later.

The two big leavers for Arsenal have been Dominque Bloodworth and Sari van Veenendaal, two experienced Dutch internationals. Bloodworth, you can see wanted a new challenge and having now joined Wolfsburg she’s got it. The German league is more technical, pacier and some say harder than ours. Plus she will play with and against some of the best players in the world.

Sari, on the other hand, you can’t help feeling that she was pushed rather than jumped. Her playing time decreased with the signing of Pauline Peyraud-Magnin from Lyon last season. It definitely seemed she had fallen out of favour which is a shame. She proved herself in the World Cup by winning the golden glove and now Spain awaits for the Dutch number one with a move to Athletico Madrid.

Predicted League Finish: 3rd

I don’t think Arsenal will retain the title. They played well last year but benefited more from the bad results of their competition to secure the league. Their signings have been shrewd but I don’t think we will be seeing the resurgence Arsenal dominance we had of yesteryear.

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