Arsenal women or Manchester United? Race for Champions League hots up

Arsenal and Manchester United are fighting for the third and final Champions League place with United currently nine points ahead of the Gunners, who have two games in hand a better goal difference.

United have 32 points from 15 games and 32-16 on goal difference, while Arsenal have 23 points from 13 games and 40-14.

In simple terms, Arsenal “only” need to win their two games in hand and beat United at home to overtake the Red Devils. Then they need to win every remaining game to guarantee Champions League qualification.

Let’s have a look at the upcoming March fixtures for the two teams:

Sun 28 February 2020

Aston Villa women vs Arsenal women is a must win for the Gunners to close the gap to six points.

Any other result would completely compromise their Champions League chances. Villa are involved in the relegation battle and recently changed manager with the former Arsenal assistant, and Birmingham co-manager, Marcus Bignot taking over.

Sun 07 March

Manchester United women vs Aston Villa women, Birmingham City WFC vs Arsenal women

Both teams need to get three points and they are the favourites to do so. We have seen teams slip up this season, so anyone dropping points this weekend will give their opponents a big boost.

Birmingham, with their limited budget and small squad, are having a very good season and will be tough to beat as they are extremely resilient.

Thu 18 Mar Arsenal v Man Utd is the BIG one and a must win for the Gunners, even a draw won’t be enough. We will have pretty much a good idea if there is Champions League qualification after that game. If not there might be a lot of changes in term of staff and personnel during the Summer.

Sun 28 March

Manchester United women vs West Ham women, Tottenham women vs Arsenal women

There are no guaranteed win in the FA WSL, so both sides will need to be at their best to get three points.

Tottenham have not beaten Arsenal ever in a women’s first team game, so far, and hopefully that record will still stand.

Both teams have been hit by injuries with United attacking players particularly singled out. Russo, James, Galton and Heath currently sit on their list.

A few of them might be back for the key games on March 18.

Arsenal’s injury list is fluctuating quite a lot and will probably be without two players Schnaderbeck and Catley for the big game.

For the Villa game, Foord, Little, Catley and Schnaderbeck will miss out due to injuries (see below) and Joe Montemurro will have a squad of 18 players to choose from.

The goalkeeper shirt could be given to Zinsberger or Williams, it is difficult to know because they are really close in term of performance.

I expect a back four of Maritz, Williamson, Beattie and McCabe.

In midfield Wälti, Nobbs and Roord to make it a very attacking side and up front Mead, Miedema and Evans or van de Donk.

On the bench, we should have many defenders and defensive midfielders: Stenson, Patten, Wubben-Moy, Maier, Gut and either van de Donk or Evans.

The team will have to win the game and I fully expect a very attacking game with Villa mixing it up between the ball playing style they have used so far this season and a new defensive approach brought in by Marcus Bignot.

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