Arsenal Women’s 2021 highlights as New Year dawns
- Credit: PA
Arsenal Women had a 2021 to remember for many different reasons, with many changes happening throughout the calendar year, such as the appointment of new head coach Jonas Eidevall.
With the year drawing to a close it was time to look back on some of the highlights of the Gunners 2021, as they go into the new year sitting top of the Women’s Super League table.
Qualifying for the Champions League after a season out of Europe in 2020-21 the Gunners qualified for the Champions League once again ,finishing third in the WSL last season.
Joe Montemurro had announced several weeks later that he was leaving the club at the end of the season, but he left them in a European spot for the 2021-22 campaign.
A 2-0 win over Manchester United with an own goal from Millie Turner, and a Lotte Wubben-Moy header left them in a really good place to get the job done, and they carried it through until the end of the campaign beating the Red Devils to third place.
Arsenal are the only British team to have won the Women’s Champions League before, and it is essential they are in Europe each season to compete against the best on the continent.
A key moment in the run was away to Everton with Katie McCabe winning a last ditch penalty at 1-1, before captain Kim Little stepped up to score and seal qualification in the most dramatic fashion.
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Arsenal are also the only British side left in this seasons tournament as last seasons beaten finalists Chelsea, failed to get past the group stage.
Reaching the FA Cup Final- Although the FA Cup Final was one of disappointment for Arsenal fans losing 3-0 to London rivals Chelsea, the run to the final was one of excitement and joy.
A 10-0 win over Gillingham started the campaign, before the Montemurro era came to an end with a 9-0 victory over Crystal Palace with Danielle van de Donk scoring her final goal for the club before her summer move to Lyon, while Jill Roord was in the same boat as she departed to Wolfsburg.
With the FA Cup rolling over into the 2021-22 season Arsenal’s campaign started again with a 5-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, with new signing’s Nikita Parris and Mana Iwabuchi on the scoresheet.
The Gunners then were paired against Brighton in the semi-final winning 3-0 with Kim Little, Beth Mead and Leah Williamson who missed the final due a hamstring Injury she picked up several weeks prior to the showpiece event at Wembley Stadium.
Although Chelsea took home the trophy the run to the final was a real sign of hope to Arsenal fans and showed that they are back in the groove to compete for major honours.
Beth Mead - Mead has had a 2021 to remember for both the right and wrong reasons, after being left out of the Summer Olympics squad in Tokyo and the English international has battled back so well to reclaim her place in the national team.
Mead has been key to Arsenal this season as they sit top of the league four points clear of nearest rivals Chelsea, the Arsenal number 9 has scored 4 goals and registered four assists in the WSL including scoring twice in the opening day win over Chelsea.
Mead now has 34 assists in the WSL and is just one away from breaking the all time record.
Summer signings - Jonas Eidevall wasn’t the only new face at Meadow Park this summer as Nikita Parris, Mana Iwabuchi, Frida Maanum and Simone Boye Sørensen joined the Gunners.
Maanum has been a sensational signing for the club making an instant impact, and she’s also chipped in with goals scoring three goals in the WSL and also netting against Barcelona in the Champions League.
The new signings have brought a freshness to the surroundings and have slotted right into the system deployed by Eidevall perfectly.
Opening day win- The opening day win of the 2021-22 season over Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium will have been many Arsenal fans highlight of the year.
The Gunners put down a very early marker in the season by beating Emma Hayes side 3-2 with Vivianne Miedema opening the scoring and Mead hitting a brace.
With the match being held at the Emirates it also brought more of a buzz to it with a crowd of 8,705 in attendance.
Arsenal go into 2022 in a good position and it’s certainly been a positive year on reflection for the north London side.