The Arsenal Women Journal: The Two-Minute Storm (LCFC 2-6 AWFC)

Good morning, Arsenal Women aficionados!

Double dose of AWFC content this week, as our girls played against Bristol City in the Conti Cup and then against Leicester City in the Women’s Super League.
Double dose, double delight as we came up on the winning side on both occasions.

The League Cup at Meadow Park, which saw Jonas Eidevall field a rather experimental starting XI, gave the Arsenal fans a good view of our most recent recruit, Australia midfielder Kyra Cooney Cross, and allowed Beth Mead to start her first game since her ACL injury, last winter. It wasn’t the dominant, stroll-in-the-park kind of game some expected but more of laborious, hard fought cup game. Bristol didn’t create much threat to Sabs D’Angelo’s goal, but our players struggled to finish their chances and seemed a bit disconnected, something that was not unexpected, given the changes made by the head coach.

It took us over thirty minutes to finally break the deadlock, thanks to Frida Maanum’s well-taken first time finish from just inside the penalty area, after being fed by Beth Mead. The Norwegian lifted the ball over the outstretched arm of Bristol goalkeeper and on the inside face of the bar, leaving no chance to get the ball out. The game became more enjoyable, and we quickly doubled our lead when Lotte Wubben-Moy headed in a nice corner kick from Katie McCabe, rising higher than anyone else in the box and expertly driving the ball to the far post. Although Bristol City found a way to get back into the game, our players controlled the tempo and saw the game out in the final moments of the match, when Stina Blackstenius sealed the score and the win.

The game against Bristol City reminded everyone how good Katherine Kühl will be, eventually, and how important Kyra Cooney Cross will soon become, either in replacement of or next to Lia Wälti. The Australian was very composed, very secure, and rather audacious in front of the backline, showing a great eye for incisive passes between the lines, while Kühl was dominant in midfield with her dribbling and technique. Having slipped down the pecking order in midfield, it soon became apparent how determined the former Nordsjælland prodigy was to show her worth and make the most of the chance she was given, something Jonas Eidevall surely took note of.


Then, on Sunday night, we travelled to the King Power Stadium of Leicester to take on one of the most energetic, brave teams in the league, and we had to ride the storm, at times. I wish I knew what Jonas Eidevall told his players at half time, but it surely worked as Katie McCabe & Co came out all pumped up and full of confidence, turning the game on its end from the restart. Before that, though, it seemed that the team was struggling to control the tempo of the game and didn’t know how to respond to Leicester’s aggression and man on man marking all over the pitch. Something definitely happened inside the players when they headed down the tunnel, being two nil down, after conceding two goals in as many minutes to a spirited opponent.

Time will tell, but I had a feeling that things finally clicked in midfield and in attack, where all players were suddenly sharper, quicker, and more incisive with their brains, their legs and their feet. It felt like they decided they would go with the flow, rather than trying to slow things down and control the game, engaging in one-v-one situations with some true grit and a splash of swag.

It was as if the two-minute storm they faced was the kind of wake-up call they needed to brush away the insecurities and frailties, making room for the confident, stronger version of themselves.

As the goals went in, I felt that this game was the turning point for several players and for the team, as a whole.

Cooney Cross

Goals from Cloé Lacasse, Alessia Russo, Caitlin Foord, Victoria Pelova, Lina Hurtig and Stina Blackstenius blew Leicester away, to the point that the heavy scoreline is flattering for the hosts. Without any exaggeration, we deserved to hit double digit as we hit the woodwork three times and came very close on at least another three occasions. If there is one game where the first goal “opened the floodgates”, it was this one, and hopefully it “opened the floodgates” in the heads and hearts of our players, reminding all of them how good they are or could be.

It was far from being the ideal start of the season, but the team now seems to have recovered and has finally found their feet and their rhythm, on top of being second in the table, three points behind Chelsea.

This was our fourth consecutive win in the league and by far the most convincing one, although not the most important one, and hopefully it will become the starting point of our title challenge, in time. If we manage to beat Brighton away and West Ham at home, we will earn the chance to go to the top, when we host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on December 10th and truly kickstart our campaign. Considering that we are still without Vivianne Miedema and Leah Williamson, and that Beth Mead still has some way to go before being fully fit and firing, I am very optimistic about the heights that this group of players can reach, once everyone is available and ready to go.


Not having Champions League football could be a blessing in disguise, as much as I hate even considering it, as could be the inevitable turmoil at Chelsea, following Emma Hayes announcement about leaving the club at the end of the season. We are not yet the favorites to land the trophy that we’re chasing since 2019, but the team we’ve seen at the King Power Stadium is on the way up, while the packed schedule and the issues behind the scenes at Chelsea could hamper their season, potentially.

We still have some way to go, especially in terms of overall consistency and tightness at the back, but the astonishing comeback against Leicester could truly be the turning point we needed.

Next up in our calendar is the away game at Brighton, the team that just beat Manchester City to get their only second win of the season. We can expect a pumped opponent, determined to get another prestigious scalp, a challenge that I hope our players will relish, rather than dread. With the right mix of determination, composure, and sharpness, we can blow away Brighton the same way we destroyed Leicester and avoid repeating the mistakes made by Manchester City at home.

Rendez-vous at Broomfield Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 24 hours after Chelsea played Liverpool at Stamford Bridge. The pressure will be on, regardless of the result between the Blues and the Reds, either to keep up with the leaders or take advantage of a possible slip-up. We’ll talk again next Monday morning, to see if the turning point at King Power Stadium was one or just a temporary flash.

Speak to you soon!

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