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Arsenal Women vs Brighton: match preview

The Gunners continue their Champions League charge against Brighton.

Arsenal Women v Gillingham Ladies: Vitality Women’s FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

After an international break and fourth round Cup duty, Arsenal return to Women’s Super League action, facing Hope Powell’s Brighton. Arsenal are on a five match winning streak in the WSL, having not conceded a goal in league action since February. That has put Arsenal in the driver’s seat for third, the final Champions League qualifying spot, with Arsenal and Manchester United both on 38 points. Arsenal have a vastly superior goal difference and a game in hand, but will need to keep momentum going against a difficult Brighton team.

Indeed, Brighton are on a good run of their own, having won five of their last six WSL games, including wins against Chelsea and against Manchester United. That streak has pulled Brighton away from the bottom half of the table into sixth place, ensuring a fourth successive season of WSL football for the club.

Arsenal beat Brighton 5-0 earlier this season, but will be wary, both of Brighton’s overall form, and the fact that they’ve been very competitive against the WSL’s best teams—in fact, with 7 points, Brighton have taken more points against Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United than Arsenal. Brighton are an extremely well organized side, and can break through Inessa Kaagman and Aileen Wheelan.

Team news:

Steph Catley should make her return to the match-day squad after a long-term hamstring injury, while Noëlle Maritz will also be back in contention. Lia Wälti was rested completely in last weekend’s 10-0 win over Gillingham. Lisa Evans (Achilles), Jen Beattie (hamstring), and Viki Schnaderbeck (knee) remain out.

Player to watch:

Danïelle van de Donk scored in Arsenal’s last league outing, and scored in the rout against third-tier Gillingham. None of those would generally be remarkable, but Van de Donk had, uncharacteristically, only scored once in the league this season, against Brighton in October. Van de Donk has played deeper than usual for Arsenal this season, with Jill Roord taking a more advanced role, but in recent weeks, there’s been more rotation, with Joe Montemurro telling Arseblog News, “we’ve been working a lot on opposite areas so we get Kim to come ball side and Jill starting a bit higher and that allows DvD to run in from the other side.”

Van de Donk, as a result, has taken 6 shots in her previous two league games, which is as many as she had taken in the twelve games before that, with more than half of her expected goals for the season coming in those two games.

Predicted lineup: 18. Williams; 20. Maier, 6. Williamson, 13. Wälti, 15. McCabe; 10. Little, 7. Van de Donk, 8. Nobbs; 9. Mead, 11. Miedema, 19. Foord
Substitues: 1. Zinsberger, 3. Wubben-Moy, 4. Patten, 12. Catley, 14. Roord, 16. Maritz, 21. Gut, 29. Goldie

WHAT: Arsenal Women vs Brighton and Hove Albion Women, Women’s Super League

WHERE: Meadow Park, Borehamwood

WHEN: Sunday, April 25th 6:00 AM PDT | 9:00 AM EDT | 2:00 PM BST

WATCH: FAPlayer.TV (streaming)