Arsenal Women look to rebound to defeat against Manchester United and the loss of Beth Mead with a Champions League trip to face Juventus. Arsenal will face former manager Joe Montemurro, who now manages Juventus. Arsenal will also have to deal with the loss of Beth Mead, who suffered a ruptured ACL on Saturday, while also missing Kim Little, Leah Williamson, Rafaelle Souza, and Lina Hurtig.
Juventus are second in Arsenal’s group, having beaten Zurich and taken a point against Lyon. With a doubleheader against Juventus, a point would be a good result and make Arsenal favourites to qualify from the group, while winning would put Arsenal in pole position to win the group. Juventus, though, will be tough opponents. Although having slipped from their high standards in Serie A, with Juventus four points behind leaders Roma, having dropped 7 points, their recent record in Europe is very good, with Juventus having finished ahead of Chelsea in the group stage last year.
For Arsenal, the immediate question is how to replace Beth Mead. Mead is the top scorer so far this season, and her counter-pressing is also vital to how Jonas Eidevall plays. Making matters more difficult, Eidevall is without Kim Little, Leah Williamson, and Rafaelle Souza. With the core of the team having essentially changed, Eidevall admitted Arsenal may play slightly differently.
Replacing Mead positionally might end up being fairly straight forward. Noëlle Maritz, who has been kept out of the starting lineup by the excellent Laura Wienroither, could play left back, and Katie McCabe could play further up the pitch, with Caitlin Foord either moving to the right, or McCabe playing as an inverted winger. Or, ultimately, Eidevall could switch systems.
With Mead out, Arsenal will have to replace her goals. At this point, that has to be Vivianne Miedema’s responsibility. Miedema was poor in Arsenal’s 3-2 defeat against Manchester United, attempting only 5 passes in the 30 minutes she was on the pitch, and having one shot at goal. Having had a complete two and a half week break from football, Miedema simply has to step up: of all Arsenal’s forwards, she’s the one, with two goals and an assist, who has been underperforming her prodigious talent.
Predicted lineup (4231): 1. Zinsberger; 26. Wienroither, 3. Wubben-Moy, 7. Catley, 16. Maritz; 13. Wälti, 12. Maanum; 15. McCabe, 11. Miedema, 19. Foord; 25. Blackstenius
Substitutes: 18. Marckese (GK), 40. Williams (GK), 5. Beattie, 8. Nobbs, 23. Iwabuchi, 59. Agyemang, 61. Earl, 62. Reid
WHAT: Juventus Women v Arsenal Women, UEFA Women’s Champions League
WHERE: Juventus Stadium, Turin
WHEN: Thursday, November 24th 12:00 PM PDT | 3:00 PM EDT | 8:00 PM GMT