How do Arsenal Women stop their drop down the WSL table without a top striker? by Michelle
Arsenal have had a bumpy ride through the first half of the 2022-23 season so far, with the majority of their problems stemming from a multitude of player injuries. They still, however, made it through to the winter break having qualified for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League at the top of their group and were 2nd only to Chelsea in the WSL table but with a game in hand – Arsenal were joint first-ish really in our minds if we’re honest about it..
But then came the first WSL match of 2023 when Arsenal welcomed Chelsea to Emirates Stadium on Sunday 15th January. Arsenal, after gaining the lead one hour in from a Kim Little spot kick putting them 1-0 in front, failed to extend that lead, which ultimately cost them dearly when Chelsea stole a 1-1 draw through an excellent Sam Kerr header in the 89th minute.
We, along with 46,500 other fans, were at the game. We had an early start like most, we had to brace the freezing cold like most, we took the car to avoid train strikes, etc. We were excited!
This was the New Year and the start of the 2nd half of the season and Arsenal could, with a win, go to the top of the WSL table with a game in hand over their London rivals! You understand the excitement? The anticipation! Anything can happen.
We were sat in Club Level ‘Area 51’ after all.. Then..
Arsenal ultimately lacked the end product, the finishing touch, that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that they had in abundance with their two injured forwards Beth Mead & Vivianne Miedema. Our Gunners created plenty of chances, especially in the first half, but just didn’t display the ruthless touch that was required against a top side like Chelsea.
When teams like Chelsea make mistakes, you have no choice but to pounce – especially with the race for the WSL title as tight as it is.
Maanum and Blackstenius had some excellent opportunities, testing Chelsea’s defences in the first half but lacked any clinical precision in front of goal. Caitlin Foord and Lina Hurtig provided a threat out wide, but Stina Blackstenius still doesn’t seem to quite be there yet, and our Gunners passed up some real chances in open play, although Chelsea’s keeper was playing a blinder.
The longer the score line stood at 1-0 the more you could feel Chelsea grow into the game, and Arsenal allowed Sam Kerr to end their hopes of re-aligning themselves at the top of the WSL, in the dying minutes of the game – which is so frustrating as it was a game in which Arsenal had ultimately dominated.
Only time will tell how Jonas Eidevall’s team will overcome these injury blows and he has certainly been active in the January transfer window with 3 new international arrivals as well as bringing young Brazilian Gio back from Everton, where she was on loan.
But our Gunners need a prolific goalscorer.. Maybe Benfica’s Cloe Lacasse, for example?
I would really like to hear your thoughts on what our Gunners need up front. And what were your thoughts through and after the match?
Follow Michelle on Just Gooner Women on Twitter for regular updates on the Arsenal Women’s Team!
Do you want to read more about the Arsenal Women’s Team? Click here….