Stand up for the Champions. Arsenal Women will play their final game of the season tomorrow against Manchester City, in front of a sold-out crowd at Meadow Park. Having won two weeks ago, against Brighton, Arsenal clinched the league championship, meaning City, who will be runners-up despite not losing a game, will give Arsenal a guard of honour before kickoff. Arsenal will lift the trophy after the match. Last week, Arsenal Women, along with the Academy league winners, joined the men’s team in the post-match lap of appreciation, with the Gunners’ feats being celebrated at the Emirates. Arsenal Women will participate in the Emirates Cup this coming summer, with both teams in action at the Emirates Stadium on one day, with the Women kicking off.
Despite winning the league, and with a World Cup on the horizon, expect many of Arsenal’s first-choice players to start. City won the FA Cup last weekend, beating West Ham 3-0 at Wembley, and Arsenal will want to be the first team to beat City domestically this season, with City having beaten the Gunners on penalties in February in the Continental Cup final. On the other side, City will want to beat Arsenal at home, and complete a league double. Nikita Parris, who may be joining Olympique Lyon, is locked in a race for the Golden Boot with Vivianne Miedema. Miedema is on 22 goals, Parris 19, so it should go to Miedema.
The match is on Saturday, at 12:30 BST (7:30 AM EDT, 4:30 AM PDT) and will be on BT Sport.
World Cup Participants Named
More countries have announced their World Cup squads, and a number of Arsenal players will be involved. Beth Mead and Leah Williamson were named in England’s squad; Danielle van de Donk and Vivianne Miedema are in the Netherlands squad (as are soon to be former players Dominique Bloodworth and Sari van Veenendaal), Pauline Peyraud-Magnin is in the France team, and it can be assumed that Kim Little, Lisa Evans and Emma Mitchell will be in the Scotland team.
For Beth Mead and Leah Williamson, the staged England squad announcement came with highlights for both; Mead was named by Arsenal legend Kelly Smith, and Williamson was named by Ian Wright.
Mead, who leads the league in assists with 12, having set a new FA WSL record, was named player of the month for April: the second successive month she has done so. Mead, who turned 24 on Thursday, assisted two goals and scored a rocket of a goal in the 4-0 win against Brighton.
Bloodworth and Van Veenendaal to leave club
Two of Arsenal’s Dutch contingent will leave at the end of the season. Versatile midfielder Dominique Bloodworth ends her 4-year stay at the club by agreeing to a transfer with German champions Wolfsburg. Bloodworth, who has been used in midfield and defence this season, leaves a champion and three-time cup winner, and assuming she plays tomorrow, will have made 100 appearances for the club. Sari van Veenendaal also joined in 2015, and was Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper until this season. Van Veenendaal contributed heavily to Arsenal’s cup run this season, as well as cup wins in previous years.
The club is expected to make additions, with rumours of several players joining from Bayern Munich Frauen.
Nobbs: Simplicity and style rules steered Arsenal to title
In the Telegraph, midfielder Jordan Nobbs writes that Joe Montemurro’s clarity and work in training has been crucial to Arsenal’s Super League title:
Joe has something called the style rules – three or four mottos within our training sessions and the way we want to play that we all follow.
In the game, we will know we are either doing a bad style rule or a good one, and I think his way of terminology and simplicity is the reason why we have performed so well. The more clarity you have on the pitch, the happier you are going to be as a player.
In a wide-ranging interview with Suzanne Wrack, Leah Williamson, also credited Montemurro, saying, “we think he’s the best thing since sliced bread.” Williamson (Proper Arsenal), whose family are all Arsenal members (aside from her father, a Spurs fan) also spoke about her emotions surrounding Arsenal winning the league, and being able to represent the club she’s supported and played for since childhood.