Following their 2-0 win against West Ham on Wednesday, Arsenal travel to face Everton tomorrow with the knowledge that just one more win will be enough to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Arsenal’s win on Wednesday means they are 3 points ahead of Manchester United, with a goal difference that is 26 better. As a result, one win from the final two matches, away at Everton, and at home to Aston Villa, who are second bottom, will result in Arsenal qualifying for next season’s Champions League, but Arsenal will want to get the job over and done with as soon as possible.
Everton, though, offer a stiff test. Willie Kirk’s side are in 5th, having recruited strongly last summer. Having fell off the pace they set earlier this season, Everton are unbeaten in five of their last seven games, losing only to Manchester City and Chelsea. Indeed, Everton haven’t beaten any of the WSL’s top sides in the league this season, making Sunday’s game a big one for Everton’s manager, Willie Kirk: “We’ve had six tests in the league (against the top clubs this season) and I don’t think we’ve done ourselves justice. We go into test number seven on Sunday and we need to take something from the game.”
Everton carry a significant threat, with Izzy Christiansen and Jill Scott in midfield, and the pace of Claire Emslie, Hayley Raso, and Alisha Lehmann in wide positions. Having played a narrow diamond against Arsenal in December, where they were picked off, Everton have moved to a 4-3-3 system, with Scott adding solidity to midfield. Where Everton distinguish themselves from the rest of the WSL, though, is their firepower upfront, with Valerie Gauvin and Simone Magill having scored five and six goals respectively. Gauvin started the season off extremely well, and then, having got injured in the FA Cup final, saw her form go through some rough patches. Her aerial ability, though, is a significant threat.
Arsenal will likely make some changes to to starting lineup, with this their third game in 7 days. Arsenal will still be without Lisa Evans, Viki Schnaderbeck, and Jen Beattie, while manager Joe Montemurro will look to give some minutes to Steph Catley, who has been an unused substitute the last two matches.
Player to watch:
Jordan Nobbs’ return to Arsenal’s starting lineup has been a big reason for the Gunners uptick in form. Having missed a large part of the season through injury, Nobbs has started six of Arsenal’s last 7 games, which have all been wins. Nobbs has five goals and three assists on the year, including a goal and an assist against Everton. While Nobbs is perhaps more influential from a central midfield position, she has found a way to still be Arsenal’s best midfielder even when playing wide on the left, as she has done for much of the season, with trademark runs into the box, while also coming inside to help Arsenal dictate play.
Predicted lineup: 18. Williams; 16. Maritz, 6. Williamson, 3. Wubben-Moy, 15. McCabe; 13. Wälti, 10. Little, 7. Van de Donk; 19. Foord, 11. Miedema, 8. Nobbs
Substitutes: 1. Zinsberger, 4. Patten, 9. Mead, 12. Catley, 14. Roord, 20. Maier, 21. Gut, 29. Goldie
WHAT: Everton Women vs Arsenal Women, Women’s Super League
WHERE: Walton Hall Park, Liverpool
WHEN: Sunday, May 2nd 5:00 AM PDT | 8:00 AM EDT | 1:00 PM BST
WATCH: FAPlayer.TV (streaming)