With the final international break of the domestic season underway—and the last one until teams name World Cup squads—Arsenal Women don’t play for another three weeks. Last weekend’s 1-0 win against Birmingham saw the Gunners securing qualification to the Champions League, meaning Arsenal will be in the Champions League for the first time since 2014. Unlike the men’s Champions League, there is no group stage, meaning Arsenal will go straight into the round of 32, with fixtures to take place in September 2019.
Katie McCabe’s winner against Birmingham also means the Gunners remained on top of the FA WSL table. Arsenal play Everton and Brighton before facing 2nd place Manchester City on the final day of the season. Victories against Everton and Brighton would mean the City game would become a dead rubber.
Champions League football ✅— Arsenal Women (@ArsenalWFC) April 1, 2019
But there’s still work to be done pic.twitter.com/vDawDqDTUq
International Duty for 14 Arsenal players
14 Arsenal players—nearly the entirety of the first team—were called up for international duty. Centre back Leah Williamson and forward Beth Mead are in the England side that will play Canada and Spain on Friday and Tuesday, goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal, midfielders Dominique Bloodworth and Danielle van de Donk and striker Vivianne Miedema are in the Netherlands’ squad, facing Mexico and Chile, winger Lisa Evans and midfielder Kim Little start for Scotland against Chile, with Scotland playing Brazil on Monday, and defender Louise Quinn and midfielder Katie McCabe, the Ireland captain, are in the squad that will play Italy on Tuesday.
Arsenal's Kim Little and Lisa Evans start for Scotland against Chile tonight. https://t.co/ABmUKmPzeQ— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) April 5, 2019
Midfielder Viki Schnaderbeck, who just returned to action, is in the Austria squad. They play against Sweden on Tuesday. Katrine Veje and Janni Arnth have been named in the Denmark side that play France on Monday, but it is unlikely they will come against Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who was stretchered off yesterday after suffering what looks like a potentially bad injury.
Mead and McCabe up for award
Fresh from signing a new long-term contract, and scoring the winner against Birmingham, Katie McCabe is up for the FA WSL’s player of the month for March. McCabe scored twice and assisted a further goal. She’s joined by teammate Beth Mead, who also scored twice and assisted a goal, Yeovil Town’s goalkeeper Megan Walsh, and Manchester City striker Nikita Parris, who is second in the league’s scoring charts, behind Vivianne Miedema.
Brighton clash to take place at Amex
Arsenal’s penultimate fixture of the season, against Brighton and Hove Albion on April 28, will now take place at the American Express Community Stadium, the home of Brighton’s men’s side. Brighton, who were promoted from the WSL 2 last season, usually play at Crawley Town’s Broadfield Stadium. Speaking about the decision, Brighton’s head coach, Hope Powell (the former England Women manager) said, “It would be fantastic for the team, after securing their WSL status for next season, to play in front of a big crowd. It has been a tough first season at this level, but the girls have learned a lot, and it would be a great way to sign off the season, here at the Amex, in front of a big home support.” Much as recent bumper attendances in Europe have been achieved with giving out free tickets, season ticket holders will be given two free tickets, and all FAWSL season ticket holders will be given five free tickets. The stadium has a capacity of 30,750.