Arsenal take big step towards Champions League proper with easy win

Arsenal defeated Slavia Praha 3-0 as expected and are likely to qualify for the new Champions League group stage.

Arsenal Women v Slavia Prague Women – Women s Champions League Qualifying Second Round – First Leg L-R Teyah Doreen Blise Goldie, of Arsenal and Beth Mead of Arsenal during the pre-match warm-up during Women s Champions League Qualifying Second Round First Leg between Arsenal Women and Slavia Prague Women at Meadow Park Stadium , Borehamwood, UK on 31st August 2021 Borehamwood England Copyright: Action Foto Sport

Unfortunately, they will have to do with without Noëlle Maritz, who will be suspended after collecting her second booking in the tournament.

For this second round home tie, Jonas Eidevall was absent as he is at home in Sweden sorting out visas for his family. It has to be said Brexit made it particularly harder to move a family to the UK, as the home office regulations have tightened up following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The starting eleven was Zinsberger; Maritz, Williamson, Beattie, Catley; Maanum, Little, Iwabuchi; Parris, Foord, McCabe. Miedema was rested, Mead was probably rotated, Wälti did not get back her starting place, and Williams seem to be the back-up goalkeeper right now.

Arsenal Women v Slavia Prague Women – Women s Champions League Qualifying Second Round – First Leg Kim Little of Arsenal celebrates her goal during Women s Champions League Qualifying Second Round First Leg between Arsenal Women and Slavia Prague Women at Meadow Park Stadium , Borehamwood, UK on 31st August 2021 Borehamwood England Copyright: Action Foto Sport

We can see a kind of hierarchy starting to take form: Patten seems to be one of the first subs used on regular basis, but not a starter. The back four used on Tuesday seems to be the first-choice back four. Wubben-Moy and Boye-Simønsen will be used as centre-back rotation. Wälti will be used as rotation in midfield although, her profile being different as the lone defensive midfielder in the squad should see her start games to provide more balance.

We saw a few moments in defensive transitions where the three midfielders were too high on the pitch due, but Slavia did not manage to make anything out of it. But you would expect Chelsea to take advantage of this problem on Sunday with Ji’s passing range and their three speedy forwards in Kerr, Kerby and Harder.

In attack, McCabe is clearly the number one choice alongside Miedema with Foord, Parris and Mead used in the rotation in every position as they are all very versatile players.

Overall, it was a well deserved win against an average opponent and good preparation for the Chelsea season opener. There are many things to work on as Jonas Eidevall is implementing his own ideas on the squad, particularly on the pressing/counter-pressing front.

Playing the Blues will give us a good indication of the work that needs to be done as it was clear that it is still a work in progress as expected early in the season. Arsenal should have a slight advantage having played three competitive games already. Matchday fitness and sharpness should favour the Gunners on Sunday, but they will need to produce some excellent football to beat Emma Hayes’s team.

Tickets for the game are on general sale. kick off at 12.30pm on Sunday.

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