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Arsenal Women vs Leicester: match preview

Arsenal end a difficult week against Leicester City

Arsenal WFC v FC Barcelona: Group C - UEFA Women’s Champions League Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

It’s been a difficult week for Arsenal Women: a 3-0 defeat in the Women’s FA Cup on Sunday was followed up by a home 4-0 loss against Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium. While it’s best to separate those two games—getting anything off of Barcelona is no small feat, and there was very little expectation surrounding that game—Arsenal could do with a nice, easy win. There is added importance to tomorrow’s match, too; Chelsea’s loss against Reading earlier on Saturday means that should Arsenal win, they would have a 4 point lead over Chelsea.

Leicester are bottom of the WSL, with eight losses from eight games. Having upgraded to the men’s side’s former training ground, and with several games at the King Power stadium this season, this is not the start that Leicester will have wanted to make, which could some way to explaining why they sacked long time head coach Jonathan Morgan, with Lydia Bedford taking the position permanently.

Leicester’s goalkeeper Kirstie Levell has been one of the standout keepers in the WSL this season, as one only six goalkeepers in the league with a positive Post-Shot Expected Goals minus Goals allowed (along with Rebecca Spencer, Ann-Katrin Berger, Manuela Zinsberger, Mackenzie Arnold, and Tinja-Riikka Korpela). Indeed, Levell stood out when Leicester went to Kingsmeadow and kept Chelsea out for 83 minutes in an eventual 2-0 loss, with several stunning saves.

Leicester do have a number of players with WSL experience, but Arsenal should expect to win, and hope to win comfortably. It’d go some way to restoring confidence ahead of another busy week.

Team news:

Arsenal will continue to be without Leah Williamson and Tobin Heath. Jonas Eidevall does have some choices to make in terms of rotation.

Key player:

Jordan Nobbs started against Barcelona, and in a game where Arsenal had very few chances and very little of the ball, Nobbs showed why she should’ve played in the FA Cup final. Speaking after the final, Eidevall said Nobbs would be a key player for Arsenal in December, and with Frida Maanum and Lia Wälti having played a lot of football, both domestic and international football, Arsenal could see a rejig of their midfield. In truth, the midfield trio of Wälti, Maanum, and Little hasn’t really worked: Arsenal need more creative presence in between the lines, from someone like Nobbs or Mana Iwabuchi, in order to better connect the front players.

Predicted lineup: 1. Zinsberger; 4. Patten, 3. Wubben-Moy, 20. Boye, 7. Catley; 10. Little, 13. Wälti; 14. Parris, 8. Nobbs, 23. Iwabuchi; 11. Miedema
Substitutes: 18. Williams, 5. Beattie, 9. Mead, 12. Maanum, 15. McCabe, 16. Maritz, 19. Foord, 22. Schnaderbeck, 29. Goldie

WHAT: Arsenal Women vs Leicester City Women, FA Women’s Super League

WHERE: Meadow Park, Boreham Wood

WHEN: Sunday, December 12th 10:45 AM PST | 1:45 PM EST | 6:45 PM GMT

WATCH: NBC Sports Live Extra (streaming US), atafootball.com (streaming, US), Sky Sports (UK),