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Reading vs Arsenal Women: match preview

Arsenal look to maintain their 100% record under Jonas Eidevall

Slavia Prague v Arsenal - UEFA Women’s Champions League Photo by Martin Sidorjak/Getty Images

After securing Champions League qualification with a 4-0 win on Thursday, where Vivianne Miedema scored her 100th goal for the club, Arsenal are back in WSL action on Sunday afternoon. It is a quick turnaround for Jonas Eidevall’s side, who end a period of 4 matches in 13 days with a trip to Reading and the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Arsenal have won all five matches under Eidevall, including last week’s huge impressive win against Chelsea. To maintain the momentum generated, though, particularly with the win against Chelsea, Arsenal will want to collect 3 points at a place where they were only able to draw last season.

Reading started the season with a 2-0 defeat at Manchester United, but have an argument that they were hard done by: it appeared Brooke Chaplen’s shot crossed over the goal line after hitting the crossbar, but the WSL doesn’t have goal line technology. Shortly after, Ona Batlle scored Manchester United’s second.

Reading were without their new striker, Natasha Dowie, and have undergone a lot of chances since they last played Arsenal: Jess Fishlock returned to OL Reign, Fara Williams retired, and Danielle Carter and Angharad James left the club. Reading tend to play a diamond in midfield, but rather than being built around James, Williams, and Fishlock, it’s now built around the energy of Chaplen, Rachel Rowe, and the running that Tash Harding provides. In the absence of Dowie, Amelie Eikeland and Emma Harries played upfront, but Reading also have the pace and quality of Canadian gold medalist Deanne Rose, who joined in the summer after graduating from the University of Florida.

Team news:

Arsenal will be without Jordan Nobbs (ankle), who is back running, Viki Schnaderbeck (knee), Simone Boye (knee), and Malin Gut (ACL). Caitlin Foord has a tight quad, and has been left out of Australia’s squad for a friendly against Ireland during the upcoming international break.

Player to watch:

Frida Maanum has been key player for Eidevall in the short time he has been Arsenal’s head coach. Maanum has started every game under Eidevall in a number of roles: as a number 8, as a number 6, deputising and replacing Lia Wälti, and has had various tactical duties, including filling in on the left-hand side last week to allow Katie McCabe to push forward.

We’re starting to learn some of Eidevall’s tendencies, such as rotating his wide players, but one consistency has been his use of Maanum, and given she only played 58 minutes on Thursday, hinting that she’ll be involved from the start on Sunday. With Reading bringing a lot of physicality to the game, Maanum may be relied on more for her power and ability to carry the ball.

Predicted XI (4231): 1. Zinsberger; 16. Maritz, 6. Williamson, 5. Beattie, 7. Catley; 13. Wälti, 12. Maanum; 14. Parris, 23. Iwabuchi, 15. McCabe; 11. Miedema

Substitutes: 18. Williams (GK), 28. Cull (GK), 3. Wubben-Moy, 4. Patten, 9. Mead, 10. Little, 29. Goldie

WHAT: Reading Women vs Arsenal Women, FA Women’s Super League

WHERE: Select Car Leasing Stadium, Reading

WHEN: Sunday, September 12th 6:00 AM PDT | 9:00 AM EDT | 2:00 PM BST