Arsenal Women take on Chelsea for their first friendly for this pre-season. The Gunners start their WSL campaign at home to the same opponents on the first weekend in September, however,
Arsenal have between two and four Champions League qualifying rounds to play before then. They need the match practice, even if many of the squad are in Tokyo competing at the Olympic Games.
This match represents new coach Jonas Eidevall’s first game in charge of Arsenal- he only arrived at London Colney late this week after observing a period of quarantine having served out his notice with Rosengard until July 12th. This also marks Arsenal Women’s first game at Emirates Stadium since the summer of 2019.
Both teams are early in their pre-seasons and are depleted by participants in the Olympics, the game is more crucial for Arsenal’s preparation than Chelsea’s at this stage, given their season starts three weeks earlier than Emma Hayes’ side, who will be without the likes of Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Magdalena Eriksson and others.
For more information on the Arsenal squad, I put together a player profiles piece here. Earlier this week, I also chatted with Swiss midfielder Lia Wälti about this game and the women’s team playing at the Emirates more generally, which you can read here.
Arsenal will be without Lotte Wubben-Moy, Leah Williamson, Steph Catley, Kim Little, Vivianne Miedema, Nikita Parris, Lydia Williams, Caitlin Foord and Mana
Iwabuchi, who have all been competing at the Olympic Games in Japan. Viki Schnaderbeck is not quite ready to return, after undergoing knee surgery earlier this summer.
However, Jen Beattie should be fit to play after undergoing back surgery in the spring, while Danish centre-half Simone Boye and Norwegian midfielder
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Frida Maanum are in line to make their debuts. Goalkeeper Fran Stenson is also fit again after missing the back-end of last season with a broken thumb.
The clubs last met at Emirates Stadium in April 2012 in front of 5,000 spectators in the WSL. Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners on that occasion thanks to a brace from Kim Little and a goal from Katie Chapman.
When the teams last met at Meadow Park in November, the scores were tied at 1-1- Beth Mead gave Arsenal the lead on 85 minutes before a stoppage time equaliser from Chelsea after a cross ricocheted into the net off Lotte Wubben-Moy