After Storm Dennis hit England last weekend forcing the postponement of their 5th round FA Cup tie, Arsenal Women will play Lewes this weekend, with the winner hosting Tottenham Hotspur at home. While there is rain in the forecast, the match should (touch wood) go ahead without issue.
The postponement wasn’t the worst thing for Arsenal, with players nursing knocks allowed to rehabilitate, while Caitlin Foord joined the squad following Australia’s Olympic qualifiers. Arsenal, though, will be without Beth Mead, who suffered an injury to her MCL in the Gunners’ 3-2 win over Liverpool last week. Mead is expected to return to action this season, with England manager Phil Neville expressing hope that she can join the Lionesses during the April international break.
Arsenal will continue to be without Katrine Veje, Kim Little, Lia Wälti, and Danielle Carter, though the latter did step onto the pitch as she continues her rehabilitation from a second ACL injury. Vivianne Miedema is carrying a back injury, while Katie McCabe played through a knock against Liverpool. Manuela Zinsberger trained during the week, but is nursing a hip injury.
Arsenal beat Lewes 9-0 in last season’s Continental Cup. Lewes have lost seven of their last eight games in the Championship, and progressed to the 5th round having beaten Billericay Town, of the 4th tier. Lewes are a fascinating club: they pay their men and women equally—Katie Rood, who plays for New Zealand, is one of the few women’s footballers in the world who can claim to be paid equally by both her club team and national team—but beyond that, split marketing costs equally between their men and women’s teams, and have seen crowds quadruple.
https://t.co/Rd9Ko4A2vN I spoke to @LewesFCWomen GM @MaggieMrphy about the postponement of last week's Women's FA Cup tie between Arsenal and Lewes and its impact and set out the case for why the FA should equalise the prize money for the men's and women's FA Cups.— Tim Stillman (@Stillberto) February 21, 2020
With the Continental Cup final next week, and the Gunners third in the FA WSL, three points off of Manchester City, cup football is the best chance of Arsenal winning something this season, with the chances of catching both Chelsea and Manchester City slim. Chelsea and Manchester City play each other in the league this weekend.
Player to Watch: Caitlin Foord
Foord finally touched down in England earlier this week, and with Arsenal’s injury issues, Foord will go straight into Joe Montemurro’s starting lineup. Foord has the capability to play wide, through the middle or off the striker. No matter her starting position, Foord is a good combination player. If she plays through the middle, expect her to drop off wide or deep and combine with runners from midfield. On the ball, Foord’s a powerful dribbler, and offers a physicality that isn’t always present in Arsenal’s front line. For more on Foord and how she can fit in at Arsenal, you can listen to Tim Stillman and Pippa Monique speaking to myself and Samantha Lewis, who covers Australian women’s football for the Guardian and ESPN.
Predicted XI: Peyraud-Magnin; Maier, Quinn, Beattie, Schnaderbeck; Williamson, Grant, Roord; Evans, Foord, Filis
Bench: Zinsberger, Van de Donk, Nobbs, Miedema, McCabe.
Arsenal Women vs Lewes Women
The Women’s FA Cup, 5th Round, Sunday, February 23
KO: 8 AM EST/5 AM PST/1 PM GMT
Stream: FAPlayer.tv, BBC iPlayer (UK only)
TV: BBC Red Button (UK only)