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AWFC Journal: Arsenal Ladies crush Foxes to stay in Chelsea chase

celebrate

We had to win and we won. We had to score a lot and we did – although we left it late in the game.
We didn’t quite match Chelsea’s 9-0 win but we scored five past Leicester and made sure we did our bit but unfortunately Chelsea also won easily against Reading, which means that we didn’t make any progresses.
We’re still one point and five goals behind the Blues then. One gone, four to go.

The game against Leicester wasn’t particularly interesting, from a tactical point of view, mostly because of the gulf in quality between the teams. It was more of a mental test for the team and the coach, to see how they would react after the loss at Wolfsburg but also how they would avoid “another Birmingham”, the inexplicably sloppy performance against a vastly inferior team.

Mission accomplished, in that sense, because Leicester never really stood a chance against us and the score line could have been much bigger in the first half already.

Once again, we didn’t make the most of the chances we manufactured and had all sorts of issues to put the ball in the back of the net, a recurring theme of lately: although against Wolfsburg we rushed our decisions in the final third, against Leicester we faced an in-form goalkeeper, some last-ditch defending and had our fair share of bad luck, with Vivianne Miedema hitting the post. it is less worrying compared to our European quarterfinals but it might still prove costly, one day.

There were a couple of very interesting performances, though, the most impressive being Laura Wienroither’s: the Austrian replaced Noëlle Maritz in the starting XI and enjoyed a very productive afternoon down the right-hand flank, especially on the attacking side. The former Hoffenheim defender combined very well with Beth Mead, Kim Little and later on with Nikita Parris, another one who had a very nice cameo, and should have had at least one assist to her name. For quite some time, Noëlle Maritz was the only natural right-back we had in the squad so Laura Wienroither’s arrival and development is very welcome.

Mead 15

Credit: Arsenal.com

Laura Wienroither wasn’t my player of the match, though, because Caitlin Foord was even better. The Australian was simply too much to handle for her opponent: in the first half alone, the Australian made the opening goal for Beth Mead and created four chances, a perfect testimony to her performance. Ever since she got back from the Asia Cup, Caitlin Foord has been one of the most inspired, industrious players in our squad an a real asset for Jonas Eidevall, who surely appreciated her tactical versatility and directness.

All in all, it was a composed, commanding performance and a good mental exercise to make sure that the focus is on and none is letting this season slip away, despite the Champions League disappointment and having to chase Chelsea in the league. There is still a lot to play for and it would be unforgivable not to try until the very last moment, especially in the league were we spent so many weeks at the top. Both sides have a couple of tricky fixtures before the end of this campaign and you never know what could happen so giving up should not be an option.

The Arsenal Women’s team won’t play next weekend because there’s an international break, meaning that everyone gets to join their National teams before coming back to London on Tuesday, 12th of April. The team will have five days to prepare for the all-important FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, to be played at Meadow Park on Sunday, 17th of April at lunchtime.

It’s not over until it’s over.

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