Arsenal finished a disappointing nine points off the pace in the WSL last season. It could have been worse after a disastrous run of form between November and February, but the Gunners at least flexed their muscles by winning eight of their final nine league games.
That winning run was enough to narrowly secure third place ahead of Manchester United and also a return to the newly expanded Champions League.
This season is about maintaining that positive momentum and ultimately trying to close gap on Chelsea and Manchester City. An improving Everton are determined to make sure it will not simply be a procession to the top three, though.
TransfersIn: Mana Iwabuchi, Nikita Parris, Simone Boye Sorensen, Frida Maanum
Out: Jill Roord, Leonie Maier, Ruby Mace, Danielle van de Donk, Lisa Evans
1. Manuela Zinsberger (GK)
3. Lotte Wubben-Moy (DF)
4. Anna Patten (DF)
5. Jennifer Beattie (DF)
6. Leah Williamson (DF)
7. Steph Catley (DF)
8. Jordan Nobbs (MF)
9. Beth Mead (FW)
10. Kim Little (MF)
11. Vivianne Miedema (FW)
12. Frida Maanum (MF)
13. Lia Walti (MF)
14. Nikita Parris (FW)
15. Katie McCabe (DF)
16. Noelle Maritz (DF)
18. Lydia Williams (GK)
19. Caitlin Foord (FW)
20. Simone Boye Sorensen (DF)
21. Malin Gut (MF)
22. Viktoria Schnaderbeck (DF)
23. Mana Iwabuchi (FW)
24. Fran Stenson (GK)
Swedish coach Jonas Eidevall has replaced Joe Montemurro in charge after the latter opted to step down at the end of last season - he is now at Juventus.
Eidevall was little known in English football prior to his appointment but guided Rosengard to the Champions League quarter-finals last season and is targeting European glory with the Gunners, who remain the last English side to win the competition.
Vivianne Miedema plundered another 25 goals in all competitions for Arsenal last season, 18 of them in the WSL to make her the league’s all-time top scorer. Even with the expensive summer arrival of Nikita Parris from Lyon, the Dutch superstar will remain vitally important.
It was possible that Arsenal could have lost Miedema, who creates as well as scores, this summer following interest from Lyon and rumours of a potential swap deal involving Parris. The fact that Arsenal have ended up with both is a tremendous boost amid promise of a devastating partnership.
Young player to watch
Arsenal don’t have any really young players in the first-team squad, but 22-year-old defender Lotte Wubben-Moy will go from strength to strength this season.
The youngster has played her way into the senior England setup since returning to Arsenal last summer, following three years of college soccer with the legendary Tar Heels in North Carolina, and will keep getting better the more she plays.
Arsenal fans would love to see a long-term homegrown partnership between Wubben-Moy and Leah Williamson, although the latter’s future has been somewhat uncertain.
Live TV broadcasts have been chosen for games up to 10 October, other dates and/or kick-off times after that point remain subject to change. All games except those chosen for live TV broadcast will be available to stream free via the FA Player.
5 September 2021 – 12.30pm – Arsenal vs Chelsea (Sky Sports Premier League)
12 September 2021 – 2pm – Reading vs Arsenal
26 September 2021 – 6.45pm – Arsenal vs Manchester City (Sky Sports Football)
3 October 2021 – 12.30pm – Aston Villa vs Arsenal (BBC Two)
10 October 2021 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Everton (Sky Sports Premier League)
6 November 2021 – 3pm – Arsenal vs West Ham
14 November 2021 – 2pm – Tottenham vs Arsenal
21 November 2021 – 12pm – Manchester United vs Arsenal
12 December 2021 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Leicester
19 December 2021 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Brighton
9 January 2022 – 2pm – Birmingham vs Arsenal
16 January 2022 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Reading
23 January 2022 – 2pm – Manchester City vs Arsenal
6 February 2022 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Manchester United
13 February 2022 – 2pm – Chelsea vs Arsenal
6 March 2022 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Birmingham
13 March 2022 – 2pm – Brighton vs Arsenal
27 March 2022 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Tottenham
3 April 2022 – 2pm – Leicester vs Arsenal
24 April 2022 – 1pm – Everton vs Arsenal
1 May 2022 – 3pm – Arsenal vs Aston Villa
8 May 2022 – 12.30pm – West Ham vs Arsenal
For Arsenal, the main hope this season will be to make the WSL title race into a three-team competition after falling away since they were last crowned champions in 2019.
The Gunners have strengthened up front by adding Nikita Parris and Mana Iwabuchi, although the squad looks light in midfield following the departures of Danielle van de Donk and Jill Roord, both of whom were extremely influential players. Injuries could also be problematic.
New coach Eidevall has come in with lofty ambitions for the club, but fans may have to temper expectations for now because Chelsea and Manchester City still remain just out of reach.
Early games against Chelsea and City before the end of August will be instantly defining.
Source : 90min