Barclays FA WSL league leaders Arsenal travel to West Ham on Saturday. West Ham drew last weekend against Tottenham Hotspur, while Arsenal, who are of course, top of the league, beat Reading 6-1.
West Ham, like a number of WSL sides, made some splashy signings this summer, though theirs came late in the window, as Emily van Egmond arrived from Orlando Pride on loan and Rachel Daly was loaned by Houston Dash. Daly, a regular England call-up, led the Dash to the NWSL Challenge Cup championship, and was named the MVP. Having played 45 minutes on Sunday, she’ll be in line for a start.
West Ham have made other additions: Australian Mackenzie Arnold is the new goalkeeper, Maz Pacheco was signed from Reading, and former Arsenal player Ruby Grant joined, with COVID-19 having stopped her from going to play at UNC, as Matt Beard looks to make his team more consistent in their third season in the league.
In their opening match, West Ham struggled to create clear cut chances. Adrianna Leon, likely to start from the left, scored a fantastic solo goal, but their best chance came at the end of the match, when a Daly cross fell to Grant in the penalty box, but she could only drag her shot wide.
Victoria Road, the ground of West Ham and Dagenham and Redbridge, will have up to 1,000 West Ham season ticket holders in attendance tomorrow, as a trial event.
Katie McCabe will return from suspension. Jen Beattie will likely continue to miss out with injury, while Lydia Williams will return to training next month. Lotte Wubben-Moy will likely not be involved, having just joined up.
Player to watch: Jill Roord
Roord scored a hat-trick last week against Reading, surpassing her WSL goal total from last season. While Joe Montemurro will likely revert back to something looking more like a 433, there will likely still be a place for Roord, whose inclusion last week saw Jordan Nobbs put on the left hand side. Roord was effective last season, if not consistently spectacular, but much of that was on the defensive side of the ball, where she was second in pressures per 90 minutes. Speaking after last week’s match, Montemurro said he challenged Roord this summer, saying
It was good last year that we got her a lot of football and we worked on her defensive phase. The big thing we are looking for from Jill is to find that level and maintain it, she can float in and out of games sometimes and become complacent because she is so talented.
I’ve given her that challenge this week to make a seven or eight out of 10 as her base and everything else above that is a bonus.
In Roord, Arsenal have another midfielder who is very good at finding space—in two of her goals last week she ran beyond Vivianne Miedema, and in her first goal, she exploited space that Miedema had opened up.
Predicted XI (4-3-3):
1. Manuela Zinsbeger; 16. Noëlle Maritz, 6. Leah Williamson, 22. Viki Schnaderbeck, 12. Steph Catley; 13. Lia Wälti, 10. Kim Little, 14. Jill Roord; 19. Caitlin Foord, 11. Viviane Miedema, 8. Jordan Nobbs
Subs: 24. Fran Stenson, 20. Leonie Maier, 17. Lisa Evans, 7. Danïelle van de Donk, 15. Katie McCabe, 21. Malin Gut, 9. Beth Mead, 30. Ruby Mace,
WHAT: West Ham United Women vs Arsenal Women, Women’s Super League
WHERE: Victoria Road, Dagenham
WHEN: Saturday, September 12th 9:20 AM PDT | 12:20 PM EDT | 5:20 PM BST
TV: ATA Football (streaming, US only), BT Sport (UK)