Arsenal Women face PSV Eindhoven Vrouwen in the final of their Champions Leaguq qualifying round one mini-tournament. The winner will go into round two, with the draw on Sunday. Arsenal Women beat Okzhetpes on Wednesday 4-0, while PSV defeated hosts Lokomotiv Moscow 3-1, setting up Saturday’s “final” at the Sapsan Arena.
PSV was former Arsenal midfielder Danïelle van de Donk’s old club, while there is another connection in the goalkeeper, Sari van Veenendaal, who is not only an international teammate of Van de Donk (and of course Vivianne Miedema), but was also at Arsenal from 2015 until 2019.
PSV finished second in last year’s Eredivise, a single point behind champions Twente, while also winning the KNVB cup. PSV, then, will represent more of a test for Arsenal than Okzhetpes, though the Dutch side did lose Aniek Nouwen, who left for Chelsea, and Joëlle Smits, who scored 30 goals in 26 games in all competitions last season, and is the club’s all time top scorer.
Lotte Wubben-Moy was substituted off against Okzhetpes with a head wound, but is fit to start. Lia Wälti missed out with a minor knock, while Jordan Nobbs (ankle) and Viki Schnaderbeck (knee) are both in Russia with the team but are rehabbing injury. Leah Williamson is absent for personal reasons, while Malin Gut is a long-term absentee after suffering an ACL injury in May. Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord, and Lydia Williams could all be involved, with Catley and Foord having both come on as substitutes on Wednesday, and Jen Beattie could also start.
Player to watch: Katie McCabe
Jonas Eidevall was happy enough with Arsenal’s win on Wednesday, but he had some frustration at the Gunners only scoring the difficult goals:
But like I told the players, we scored the hard goals today and we were using established play against 11 of their players where we needed lots of passes in a row to come off. But we didn’t score from any corners, or wide free-kicks, or from crosses or counter-attacks. We need to be better in those situations as well and we need to do better with that on Saturday, no matter which opponent we play.
While Arsenal didn’t score from set pieces, they did threaten, particularly from Katie McCabe’s deliveries. McCabe set up 11 goals in the WSL last season, with many from set pieces and crossing positions. With Nikita Parris’ forward movement on the right hand side, McCabe’s deliveries from the left could be particularly devastating.
Predicted lineup (4-2-3-1): 1. Zinsberger; 16. Maritz, 20. Boye, 5. Beattie, 7. Catley; 12. Maanum, 10. Little; 14. Parris, 23. Iwabuchi, 15. McCabe; 11. Miedema
Substitutes: 18. Williams (GK), 28. Cull (GK), 3. Wubben-Moy, 4. Patten, 5. Beattie, 9. Mead, 13. Wälti, 19. Foord, 29. Goldie
WHAT: Arsenal Women vs PSV Eindhoven, UEFA Women’s Champions League
WHERE: Sapsan Arena, Moscow
WHEN: Saturday, August 21st 9:00 AM PDT | 12:00 PM EDT | 5:00 PM BST