NLD Delight – The Arsenal Women Journal

Another thumping win in a North London Derby, what a delight!

A brace from Caitlin Foord and a goal apiece from captain Kim Little and Frida Maanum painted north London red once again, propelling the team much closer to the top of the table.

We might have moved from fourth to…fourth but we made a big step forward in the league, as we are now three points behind both Manchester clubs, with a game on hand, and two points behind Chelsea.
The race is wide open!

The team celebrates Caitlin Foord's second goal of the day (photo The Independent)

The team celebrates Caitlin Foord’s second goal of the day (photo The Independent)

At Brisbane Road, on a ridiculously bubbly pitch, Jonas Eidevall made three changes to the team that suffered a narrow defeat at the Allianz Arena, with Sabrina D’Angelo, Lotte Wubben-Moy and Victoria Pelova replacing Manuela Zinsberger, Laura Wienroither and Rafaelle. Katie McCabe moved back to the left-back position to accommodate Victoria Pelova in the attacking trio, and both had a very good game against the Spurs. The Dutch was especially impressive when floating between midfield and attack and between inner and outer positions and her chemistry with Noëlle Maritz was evident.

I shall point you to Tim Stillman’s analysis piece to know more about Victoria Pelova’s best performance yet, while I sing the praise of another protagonist of the North London Derby win: Kim Little. She is so good, so consistently that many are taking her for granted but the midfielder simply had a flawless game at Brisbane Road and made the pitch look decent – which is possibly her biggest achievement of the afternoon. If Caitlin Foord, Frida Maanum, Victoria Pelova and both our full backs could be so effective is mostly because of Kim Little’s vision, tactical acumen and quality of passing.
According to data, among all the Women’s Super League midfielders, Kim Little has the second-highest percentage of completed long passes behind Fran Kirby, which enables our wide players to run in-behind and attack the space available in front of them with high chances of being picked-up, as well as allowing quick, effective switches of play from one side to another.

Here’s my little contribution to reminding everyone how good is Kim Little at football, in case anyone doesn’t know yet.

Kim Little celebrates after converting the penalty (photo from SkySports)

Kim Little celebrates after converting the penalty (photo from SkySports)

Now that our ambitions in the league have been restored thanks to Manchester City assertive win over Chelsea, it is time to focus on the impending and all-important UWCL return leg against Bayern Munich, on Wednesday night. Based on what we saw against Tottenham, Victoria Pelova should retain her place in attack, with Katie McCabe at left back, while Rafaelle should return to the starting XI in place of Lotte Wubben-Moy. It will be interesting to see whether Jonas Eidevall sticks to Sabrina D’Angelo in goal or if Manuela Zinsberger comes back after sitting out of the North London Derby.

Regardless of the initial line-up, it will be very important to get the Emirates Stadium rocking and I truly hope that the club sells more than the 18,000 announced so far, because the team needs and deserves our full support. It could be a crucial night for our season and the first time we reach the Women’s Champions League semifinals since 2013, when we faced eventual champions Wolfsburg and lost 4-1 on aggregate.

The club waited ten years to get to this point, you better not miss it if you can attend!

We will talk again on Thursday to discuss the home game against Bayern Munich, until then get in full-voice mode to support our terrific girls.

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