Arsenal Women travel to the People’s Pension Stadium to face Brighton on Sunday. Arsenal need to win to keep pace at the top of the WSL. Brighton have recently appointed Jens Scheuer, a former manager of Bayern Munich, after Hope Powell was sacked earlier in the year. Brighton are undergoing a big change, with Scheuer trying to bring in a new playing style, which is perhaps an admission from Brighton that they need to adapt and evolve to remain relevant in the WSL. The first step, though, is bringing back some of the Powell era stability; Brighton have conceded the most goals in the league, and having lost to Leicester last weekend, they now find themselves in a potential relegation battle.
Arsenal need to score
Jonas Eidevall reiterated his desire to add a forward during the January window. As of writing time, though, a move for any forward doesn’t appear close. For now, Arsenal are going to have to rely on their cadre of attackers to begin providing goals. In particular, both Stina Blackstenius and Caitlin Foord, who have shown in the past at Arsenal that they can be valuable scorers, need to begin contributing in front of goal. Outside of the Champions League fixture against Zurich, Foord and Blackstenius haven’t scored since the early November win against Leicester City.
Integrating new players
With another week of training, Arsenal’s new players, Gio, Kathrine Kühl, and Victoria Pelova should be involved in some form this weekend. Indeed, Pelova was about to come on before Chelsea equalized last weekend. For Arsenal, it’s a case of getting the players used to the environment and their new teammates, and if the success of Laura Wienroither can be repeated, that would be an excellent outcome. Wienroither had a quiet introduction to English football but has deservedly become Arsenal’s first choice right back this season.
Who starts on the right?
Arsenal’s starting lineup mostly writes itself, except for the right-sided attacker. Against Chelsea last weekend, Eidevall chose Lina Hurtig, having previously utilized Katie McCabe. Another option in the future is perhaps Gio, though Sunday’s match is likely too soon to start the 19-year old Brazilian. Hurtig adds a physical presence to Arsenal’s front line, but McCabe might add creativity. With Brighton likely to sit deeper, the added creativity may be a bonus—especially as Arsenal have to re-adjust to having Frida Maanum as the #10 with the long term absence of Vivianne Miedema.
Predicted lineup (4231): 1. Zinsberger; 26. Wienroither, 6. Williamson, 2. Rafaelle, 7. Catley; 10. Little, 13. Wälti; 15. McCabe, 12. Maanum, 19. Foord; 25. Blackstenius
Substitutes: 14. D’Angelo (GK), 18. Marckese (GK), 3. Wubben-Moy, 5. Beattie, 16. Maritz, 17. Hurtig, 20. Gio, 21. Pelova, 22. Kühl
WHAT: Brighton and Hove Albion Women v Arsenal Women, Barclays Women’s Super League
WHERE: People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley
WHEN: Sunday, January 22nd 10:45 AM PDT | 1:45 PM EDT | 6:45 PM GMT
WATCH: Paramount+ (US, streaming), Sky Sports (UK, TV)