Fresh off of Arsenal’s 4-1 loss against Barcelona, the Gunners’ first loss under new manager Jonas Eidevall, Arsenal Women play Everton at Meadow Park on Sunday in the WSL. Arsenal are unbeaten in the league, but Everton will offer a stern test of Arsenal, who will have to offer a response to frankly getting battered Barcelona. Ironically enough, the last time an English side lost to Barcelona, Everton was that team’s very next opponent, and Chelsea won that game in May 3-0.
Everton have the potential to cause some trouble for the WSL’s top 3 teams, having made several significant additions in the summer transfer window, including Hanna Bennison, the 18-year old central midfield phenom. She is one of three players Everton signed from Rosengård, Eidevall’s former team, and one of nine players Everton brought in as Willie Kirk significantly re-did his team. Bennison is joined by Nathalie Björn and the striker Anna Avengård, while former Arsenal right back Leonie Maier also joined the Toffees. The nine arrivals have been offset by eight outgoings and a retirement, with Hayley Raso the most significant departure.
Everton can call on strength in the wide positions with Claire Emslie and Toni Duggan, with Avengård and Valerie Gauvin significant threats upfront. However, Everton lost by four goals to both Manchester City and Chelsea to start the season, and while they beat Birmingham and Reading, there will be question marks about their ability to cause the top 3 difficulty. Make no mistake, though: if Arsenal aren’t on top of their game, Everton have the capability to cause the Gunners trouble.
Team news: Simone Bøye Sorensen was back in training for Arsenal, but won’t yet return to the squad.
Key player: Jordan Nobbs
Sunday could see the first start of the season for Jodan Nobbs, who played the final twenty minutes of the loss against Barcelona. After playing against Spurs in last week’s FA Cup quarterfinal, Jonas Eidevall said that Nobbs, “...shows she is a dynamic and technical player and she is great at pressing and with her reactions.” Nobbs’ dynamism could make her perfect as a number 10 for Eidevall, especially given the sheer amount of running Arsenal’s number 10 does. Indeed, one of Nobbs’ underrated strength is her off the ball movement, as she showed when Arsenal hosted Everton last season, where Nobbs opened the scoring with a tap-in.
Predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): 1. Zinsberger; 16. Maritz, 6. Williamson, 3. Wubben-Moy, 15. McCabe; 10. Little, 12. Maanum; 14. Parris, 8. Nobbs, 77. Heath; 11. Miedema
Substitutes: 18. Williams, 4. Patten, 5. Beattie, 7. Catley, 9. Mead, 13. Wälti, 19. Foord, 22. Schnaderbeck, 23. Iwabuchi
WHAT: Arsenal Women vs Everton Women, FA Women’s Super League
WHERE: Meadow Park, Borehamwood
WHEN: Sunday, October 10th 7:00 AM PDT | 10:00 AM EDT | 3:00 PM BST