Arsenal Women host Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday in the UEFA Women’s Champions League. Arsenal trail after the first leg, having lost 1-0 to Bayern last week, despite a fairly dominant attacking performance. Arsenal will hope to overcome the tie to make the semi-final—a sign of progression that Arsenal need. Here are three things to watch for.
Arsenal’s wide play
Arsenal scored five against Tottenham on Saturday in the North London Derby in part because of the play of their two wide forwards, Caitlin Foord and Victoria Pelova. Foord scored twice, having been Arsenal’s most threatening attacker against Bayern. Pelova had an excellent game, playing not exactly as a winger, but as a wide playmaker. Pelova combined well with Noëlle Maritz while also allowing Arsenal to create central overloads, with Foord pushing higher up as a second striker.
Holding Bayern on the counter
While Arsenal were excellent against Bayern, there were chances for Bayern, with Manu Zinsberger making a decisive save to deny Bayern scoring what could’ve been a tie-ending second goal. Bayern have been excellent on the counter-attack in the Champions League this season, and have also been good defensively. Arsenal’s positioning to stop the counter attacks will be important to stop Bayern from countering dangerously.
Maanum decision making
One interesting development of late has been Frida Maanum’s decision making in the final third. Maanum has scored 10 WSL and Champions goals from 6.6 xG, in part because of her prowess from range, as well as some luck — shots against Manchester United and Tottenham taking telling deflections. Maanum, though, only has 4 assists from 5.2 xAG. This, in part, is because of her own teammates, but there’s also the case of her taking shots from positions in the final third where she could pass. Maanum is 4th at Arsenal in shots per 90 this season, and third if you exclude Vivianne Miedema, who has been absent since December. One area where Maanum can improve her game is her decisiveness in the final third: making a pass instead of shooting, for example.
Predicted lineup (4231): 1. Zinsberger; 16. Maritz, 6. Williamson, 2. Rafaelle, 15. McCabe; 10. Little, 13. Wälti; 21. Pelova, 12. Maanum, 19. Foord; 25. Blackstenius
Substitutes: 14. D’Angelo (GK), 18. Marckese (GK), 3. Wubben-Moy, 5. Beattie, 17. Hurtig, 22. Kühl, 26. Wienroither, 59. Agyemang
WHAT: Arsenal Women v Bayern Munich Frauen, UEFA Women’s Champions League
WHERE: Emirates Stadium
WHEN: Wednesday, March 29th 12:00 PM PDT | 3:00 PM EDT | 8:00 PM BST
WATCH: DAZN YouTube