Arsenal face a tricky trip to Brighton & Hove Albion
- Credit: PA
Womens Super League leaders Arsenal face a tricky task this Sunday as they travel to Brighton and Hove Albion.
Joe Montemurro’s side will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing 4-1 Continetal Cup defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.
As for Hope Powell’s Seagulls they drew with West Ham United 2-2 but lost in the subsequent penalty shootout.
Albion have started the season well with a 2-0 opening day win over Birmingham City before drawing 0-0 away to Manchester City however they lost 3-0 at Manchester United last time out.
Arsenal are still unbeaten in the league and have won all three of their games so far against Reading, West Ham and BristolCity.
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The Gunners will be without Jill Roord who is still out with a knee injury as Steph Catley and Lydia Williams will also be unavailable until after the international break later on this month.
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Jordan Nobbs and Kim Little are also doubts after missing the Chelsea game with Gunners boss Joe Montemurro saying after the game: “Resting them was about just giving them a bit more time to recover properly.
“They both have small hamstring issues and we just need to make sure we don’t take any silly risks at this stage but the Brighton game might be too soon for them.”
That could see Leah Williamson moved into midfield with Lotte Wubben-Moy starting once again at centre-back after she impressed against the current WSL champions in the cup.
As for Brighton Katie Robinson has undergone knee surgery and Ellie Brazil is also recovering from knee surgery but otherwise Albion have no fresh injury concerns.
When they last met:
Arsenal and Brighton clashed three times last season with Arsenal winning the two league clashes 4-0 before the Seagulls beat the Gunners in the Continetal Cup on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
One of Arsenal’s best performances of the 2019-20 season was the away game against the Seagulls.
The north Londoners traveled to the People’s Pension stadium in Crawley on the 12th January and put in one of their most complete performances of the season.
It only took three minutes for the champions to take the lead when Leah Williamson who went on to win the player of the match played a long pass into the feet of Van De Donk and she slotted beyond Albion keeper Megan Walsh at the near-post.
Jill Roord fired home the second from the edge of the box on 32 minutes after another cross in from Williamson who was playing at the right of a back three that afternoon.
Emily Simpkins had Albion’s best chance of the game just before the break as she was played in and hooked the effort wide of the target.
On 51 minutes Van de Donk slid in Nobbs for the Gunners’ third, after a neat dummy from top scorer Vivianne Miedema.
The scoring was then complete on 89 minutes when Beth Mead blasted in after Walsh spilled a cross from Lia Wälti.
Arsenal also won the home tie 4-0 thanks to goals from Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk and Jordan Nobbs.
Potential match winners:
Danielle van de Donk - van de Donk has a very good record against the Seagulls scoring both home and away against them last season.
Brighton are expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation so will be hard to break down and the Netherlands international could be the key player to pick the locks in the defence.
She is versitile and that could confuse Brighton as she could play as a winger, centre midfielder or as a number 10 behind the striker.
The game could be dominated in midfield and van de Donk will be key.
Lotte Wubben-Moy - Wubben-Moy could be set to start her first league game since signing for the Gunners once more in September.
The young defender impressed against Chelsea in the Continetal Cup and the Seagulls could target her lack of experience with their physicality.
Wubben-Moy will need to be fully focused if she is handed a start but she is comfortable on the ball and that’s the main attribute that any Arsenal player has to have.
Denise O’Sullivan - Brighton pulled off a major coup when they signed O’Sullivan on transfer deadline day.
The Republic of Ireland forward is a proven goalscorer and could cause problems for Arsenal due to how direct she is.
O’Sullivan is yet to score in the WSL in her two matches as she played the full game against Manchester United and 44 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
Should Wubben-Moy start the game she will need to keep an eye on the attacker as she likes to run in behind defenders and can also score from range.
Inessa Kaagman- Netherlands international Kaagman was another coup for the Seagulls during the summer.
She has scored one goal in three games for the Seagulls so far in their opening day win over Birmingham City.
She can unlock defences with her range of passing and is full of energy and has WSL experience at just 24.
With a lot of the ball expected to be in the midfield Kaagman could provide that little bit of extra-quality that could see the Seagulls get a result.
What’s been said:
Joe Montemurro was full of praise for the Seagulls as he said: “We need to worry about what we need to do because Brighton are a very well organised side and they’ve already taken points off a super squad like Manchester City. We expect a very difficult game and they have some elements that can definitely unlock you.”
How to watch: The game is being broadcast live on the BBC Red Button with a 12.30pm kick off on Sunday afternoon.